What Has God’s Kingdom Been Doing Since 1914?
1. Are the year 1914 and the train of events since then mere history of before the time of everybody living today, and what did the greatest prophet say of people of our generation?
THE year 1914 is now more than fifty years in the past. Yet it lives in the memory of millions of people today living. The first world war that began then and the train of events that has followed are part of the personal experience of those millions of living people. The year 1914 and what happened then is, for them, no mere human history that happened before their time. They have lived these things, they recall them, they can still tell about them to people born since. These millions are part of a generation of mankind that is destined to see even more wonderful things, things that will finally spell out correctly, without any danger of being misread, the real meaning of what has happened and of what began back there in the unforgettable year 1914. Not with any possibility of failure the greatest prophet of all time said nineteen centuries ago: “This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.”—Matt. 24:34.
2. In what way has the earth never been the same since 1914, and what may be said for the future outlook?
2 This earth has never been the same since the year 1914. We say this, not just because of the increasing number of earthquakes that have taken place since then and that have noticeably changed the face of the earth. Neither because of the widespread polluting of the air, sea and soil. We say this because of the changed conditions among the people on earth, in the political structure of things, in morals, in scientific thinking, in religion, in warfare, and, strange as it may sound, in superhuman invisible forces that are now playing upon mankind. Well has it been remarked by observant historians that 1913 was the last normal year of the modern world. Since then we have found ourselves in an age of violence, disturbance and unsettledness that is without parallel in all human history. There is a continual building up of threatening circumstances. What the outcome will yet be with this generation is something terrifying for those to imagine who have no sure guide for the future. Just why did our generation have to be the one to experience all this calamity, with worse yet to come?
3, 4. (a) Besides our earth, what else was affected by what took place in 1914? (b) What announcement of universal importance was due to be made in heaven that year?
3 However, let us not be so wrapped up in ourselves and in our own cause for worry as to overlook other things of importance in the big general picture of things. Not only earth and its inhabitants were keenly affected by what occurred in 1914, but also heaven was. We are not here speaking of the visible heavens, the planets in outer space that science engineers are hitting with rockets launched from the earth. We are speaking of the invisible heavens, beyond the reach and penetration of human science. These invisible heavens, where the God of all creation is seen by his spiritual creatures—even these heavens were radically affected by what took place in 1914. There can be no mistake about it that in 1914 the time came for a universally important announcement to be made and heard throughout the invisible heavens, the reverberations of which were finally to be picked up here at the earth, not by means of radio telescopes but by means of the invisible active force of God operating upon his people. No announcement could be greater than that announcement that was actually heard and then recorded in these inspired words:
4 “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will rule as king forever and ever.”
5. What related announcement was due to be made later in heaven?
5 Some time later there followed a related announcement: “Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, because the accuser of our brothers has been hurled down, who accuses them day and night before our God!”—Rev. 11:15; 12:10.
6. (a) Who recorded these announcements, and why did he do so? (b) Why is our generation the one qualified to answer the question, “What has God’s kingdom been doing since 1914?”
6 These announcements were first heard at the earth on the island of Patmos, off the coast of Asia Minor. They were recorded by the man who heard them, the Christian apostle John, who was undergoing a prison term on that penal island at the hands of the Roman Empire. He was commanded to write down these announcements that they might be preserved for our own generation, who would be living now in the time when these announcements should actually be made to describe the events taking place, events of importance both to heaven and to earth. According to time calculations quite generally accepted, the apostle John recorded his prophetic vision and the things that he saw and heard in the year 96 C.E. God, who sent the vision, told John to write these things down because they foretold “things that must shortly take place.” (Rev. 1:1) And now our generation, that has gone through the events of 1914 and the succeeding years, has been living in the awe-inspiring time when these things that John saw in miraculous vision were due to take place. What, then, can we say in answer to the question, “What has God’s kingdom been doing since 1914?”
NOT THE FIRST MESSIANIC KINGDOM OF GOD
7. (a) Was the kingdom of God and of his Christ announced in 1914 the first such kingdom with reference to the earth? (b) To whom did the title “Messiah” or “Christ” use to apply?
7 For two thousand five hundred and twenty years this kingdom of God and of his Christ was waiting to be established. How do we know that? Because this was not the first such kingdom of God to exist with reference to this earth. Bear in mind that the title “Christ” means “Anointed One” and corresponds with the Hebrew word “Messiah.” Just as from the Greek word “Christ” we get the adjective “Christian,” so from the Hebrew word “Messiah” we get the words “Messianic” and “Messianist.” Every true Christian is a Messianist. Long ago the word “Christ” or “Messiah” used to apply to kings who reigned in Jerusalem down to the year 607 Before Our Common Era. That was the year of the overthrow of the last king of the long royal line that began with King David. In lamenting over him, the prophet Jeremiah said: “The very breath of our nostrils, the anointed one [the Messiah] of Jehovah, has been captured in their large pit, the one of whom we have said: ‘In his shade we shall live among the nations.’”—Lam. 4:20; Hebrew text.
8. (a) So what title was applied to King David also, and on whose throne did he sit in Jerusalem? (b) To whom did King David acknowledge the kingdom to belong?
8 As for King David himself, he began to reign in Jerusalem in the year 1070 B.C.E. As he had been anointed at the command of Jehovah God to be king over his people, David was called the Anointed One or Messiah or Christ. Hence regarding Jerusalem, where David reigned, God said: “There I shall cause the horn of David to grow. I have set in order a lamp for my anointed one [Messiah].” (Ps. 132:17) At first Jehovah God himself had been the one King heavenly and invisible over David’s people, even from the days of the prophet Moses, who sang: “Jehovah will rule as king to time indefinite, even forever.” (Ex. 15:18) Consequently, King David sat on the throne of Jerusalem as the visible human representative of Jehovah. The Holy Bible says that King David sat on “Jehovah’s throne,” as did also David’s successor, King Solomon. (1 Chron. 29:23) So, when the aged King David was abdicating his throne to his young son Solomon, he publicly prayed to God and said: “Everything in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Jehovah.” (1 Chron. 29:11) Thus that was a kingdom of God and of his Anointed One.
FROM 607 B.C.E TO 1914 C.E.
9. (a) When was the royal house of David brought to a ruin, and why, and by whom? (b) What that was low was then put on high?
9 In that first kingdom of God and of his Christ or Anointed One at Jerusalem the visible kings were, of course, imperfect humans. Because of misrule that developed in that earthly kingdom, God himself overturned it, using King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon to do it in the year 607 B.C.E. When announcing its coming overthrow, God spoke by the mouth of his prophet Ezekiel and said to Jerusalem’s last king: “Remove the turban, and lift off the crown. This will not be the same. Put on high even what is low, and bring low even the high one. A ruin, a ruin, a ruin I shall make it. As for this also, it will certainly become no one’s until he comes who has the legal right, and I must give it to him.” (Ezek. 21:25-27) At the ruining of King David’s royal house in the summer of 607 B.C.E., the despised Gentile world power of Babylon was put on high, and about October 1 of that same year the site of Jerusalem and all the land of Judah were left desolate without even a local governor from among the royal relationship of King David.
10. (a) What marked period of time began in that year of 607 B.C.E.? (b) Till whose coming was that period of time to continue?
10 Till then Jerusalem had stood for the kingdom of Jehovah God by means of his Anointed One or Christ. But now, from 607 B.C.E. onward, Jerusalem never again had a king of David’s line. God’s kingdom by his Anointed One or Christ began to be trodden down by the Gentiles. A long period of complete Gentile domination of all the earth without interference from any kingdom of God by Christ began. According to Ezekiel’s prophecy, this period of Gentile domination was to keep on until the coming of the person with the legal right to the royal crown, at which time God would carry out his promise to give it to that one. The Persian Empire, then the Grecian Empire, and next the Roman Empire took control of the rebuilt Jerusalem, but they allowed no kingdom of God by means of an Anointed One of David’s family to be set up at Jerusalem.
11. (a) How did Jesus become the Christ or Anointed One, and when? (b) Did God give him the Messianic kingdom at that time?
11 Right on time, during the reign of Tiberius Caesar of Rome, Jesus, a descendant of King David, was anointed at the Jordan River, not by a Jewish priest or prophet, but by Jehovah God, not with anointing oil from the olive tree, but with holy spirit from heaven. John the Baptist, who baptized Jesus in water, bore witness to this fact. He also declared Jesus to be the Son of God. (John 1:29-34) There Jesus became Jesus the Anointed One or Jesus Christ. He became the Promised One with the “legal right” to God’s Messianic kingdom. But God did not give it to him back there in the year of his baptism in water.
12. (a) In connection with what event did Jesus mention the “appointed times of the nations” or Gentile Times? (b) After 70 C.E. the very ground of Jerusalem continued to be trampled on by whom?
12 Three and a half years later, near Passover time of the year 33 of our Common Era, Jesus Christ foretold the then-impending destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans and said: “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies, then know that the desolating of her has drawn near. . . . and they will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:20-24) By these words Jesus Christ indicated that the appointed times of Gentile domination of the whole earth without interference from God’s Messianic kingdom were to continue on beyond the year 70 C.E., when the Roman armies destroyed the Jewish-built Jerusalem and its holy temple. Sixty-one years later the Romans built a new city on the ruins of old Jerusalem, but not for any anointed king of David’s royal line to rule in defiance of the Roman Caesar. Consequently, down to the year 1914 C.E. the very ground where the ancient Jewish-built city of Jerusalem used to stand was literally trampled on by the Gentiles, by the Romans, by the Mohammedans, by the Roman Catholic Crusaders and by the Turks, as history shows.
13. (a) Why does it seem that the Gentile Times of world domination did not end in 1914? (b) However, why do such affairs of earthly Jerusalem not prove that to be so?
13 But are not the Gentile Times of world domination still in operation? Even since 1914 does not the walled city of Jerusalem continue to be trodden down by the Gentiles or non-Jews? Seemingly so, for the ancient Roman-built walled city of Jerusalem has indeed been trampled on by the non-Jewish nations since 1914, and no Messianic king of David’s royal line has reigned there since 1914. Furthermore, even the modern Jerusalem built by the Jews to the west of the ancient walled Jerusalem has no Messianic king of David’s family reigning in it. It is, rather, the capital city of the Republic of Israel. This Jewish Republic, instead of resting its hopes in the Messianic prophecies of Jehovah God, pins its hopes to the Gentile United Nations, of which it became the fifty-ninth member on May 11, 1949. Still, all this does not mean that the Gentile Times did not end in 1914, about October 1. Why not? Because an earthly Jerusalem will never be the throne city of God’s Messianic King, and so the Gentile nations did not need to be pushed out of the earthly Jerusalem in 1914 for the kingdom of God by means of his Messiah to begin reigning.
14. (a) What, then, was it that counted, the old walled city of Jerusalem, or what? (b) What, then, was it that did not interfere with Gentile domination of the earth, and why?
14 Since the days of Jesus Christ the earthly city of Jerusalem is not what counts. Rather, the thing that counts is what the Jewish city of Jerusalem symbolized at the time that it was destroyed by the Babylonians in the year 607 B.C.E., when the Gentile Times began. Well, then, what had Jerusalem symbolized up till then? It had symbolized God’s kingdom by means of his anointed one of the royal house of David. True, Jerusalem was rebuilt seventy years later, but what about the Messianic kingdom of God by means of an heir of David? This continued to be trampled on by the Gentile nations. Being thus out of existence for the length of the Gentile Times, the Messianic kingdom of God offered no interference to the Gentile nations dominating the whole earth. By God’s own decree, he estopped himself from interfering with Gentile domination of all the earth till the year 1914 C.E.
15. (a) Who brought the Gentile Times to their end and this at the time indicated by what prophet? (b) Who calculated in advance the date of those Times to end, and how were critics silenced?
15 However, at the appointed time Jehovah God himself brought the uninterrupted domination of the Gentile Times to an end. By his prophet Daniel as his mouthpiece Jehovah God fixed the very time for Messiah the Prince or Leader to make his appearance on earth as a man, and the time fixed for that was nineteen hundred years ago, in our first century C.E. (Dan. 9:24-27) The baptism of Jesus and the anointing of him with holy spirit from God marked the exact time that the Messiah, the Christ, the Anointed One, appeared. By the same prophet Daniel, Jehovah God made known the length of the Gentile Times as being “seven times,” or 2,520 years from their start in 607 B.C.E. (Dan. 4:16, 23, 25) This enabled Christian Bible students to find out in advance when the Gentile Times would end. More than thirty-five years in advance, by help of God’s holy spirit, dedicated Bible students calculated the Gentile Times as due to expire in the early autumn of 1914, but the religious clergy of Christendom criticized them and mocked them for publishing such a Bible time schedule. But the events of 1914 silenced the critics, though they were not converted.
VERIFYING THE DATE 1914
16. (a) As opposite from what happened in 607 B.C.E., what was due to happen at the end of the Gentile Times in 1914? (b) From 1914 onward, what would the Gentile nations have to reckon with, never trampling on it again?
16 Since autumn of 1914 was due to mark the end of the Gentile Times, what, according to God’s will, was then due to take place? This, namely, the stoppage of the trampling of the Gentile nations on what was symbolized by the ancient Davidic city of Jerusalem. The kingdom of Jehovah God by means of his anointed one of the royal line of David was no longer to be trampled on in contempt by the Gentile nations. The beginning of those Gentile Times was in 607 B.C.E. and was marked by the ruining of the kingdom of God. In opposite fashion, the end of the Gentile Times in 1914 C.E. was to be marked by the revival, the rebirth, of God’s kingdom in the hands of his anointed one or Messiah, Christ. It was the time marked for the coming of the Anointed One with the “legal right” to the crown and the time for Jehovah God to give it to him. This Messianic kingdom of God would then be a divine government for the Gentile nations to reckon with henceforth. Never would they be able to trample on it victoriously, even though they kept up their selfish endeavors to hold on to the sovereignty of all parts of the earth. Why so?
17, 18. (a) Why could the Gentile nations not tread upon such a government after 1914? (b) What kind of kingdom had Jesus and his apostles preached, and in what city was it to be located?
17 It was because the Messianic kingdom of God that was due to be born in 1914 is a heavenly government. It is beyond the reach of the Gentile governments and their spaceships and rockets. The earthly Jerusalem has nothing to do with it. Since Jesus Christ was put to death on Calvary outside the walls of Jerusalem in the year 33 C.E., that city has no connection with God’s Messianic kingdom.
18 Five days before his death Jesus rode into Jerusalem accompanied by a great crowd of joyful people. He offered himself to Jerusalem as her king. (Zech. 9:9; Matt. 21:1-11) But the ruling factors of Jerusalem rejected him. No earthly kingdom was given him. However, he had not preached an earthly kingdom. He preached the good news of God’s Messianic kingdom, and he and his disciples cried out: “The kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.” (Matt. 4:17; 10:1-7) The long-foretold Messianic kingdom was to be a heavenly kingdom, a government whose seat was to be in what the Holy Bible symbolically calls “a city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem.” (Heb. 12:22) With a view to the setting up of the heavenly Messianic kingdom in 1914, Jehovah God raised his Son Jesus Christ from death on the third day and had him ascend back to heaven forty days later.—Acts 1:1-12.
19 However, Jesus’ ascension to heaven and his reappearance in the heavenly presence of Jehovah God did not bring the Gentile Times to an end, but God kept to His time schedule, looking forward to 1914. Jesus Christ had to wait, just as the inspired Bible writer of Hebrews 10:12, 13 tells us, saying: “This man offered one sacrifice for sins perpetually and sat down at the right hand of God, from then on awaiting until his enemies should be placed as a stool for his feet.” This is a reference to Psalm 110:1, 2, where King David said prophetically concerning the coming Messiah or Christ: “The utterance of Jehovah to my Lord is: ‘Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.’ The rod of your strength Jehovah will send out of Zion, saying: ‘Go subduing in the midst of your enemies.’”
20. At that appointed time, how were the tables to be turned as between Jesus Christ and the Gentile nations?
20 God’s appointed time for the Lord Jesus Christ to start doing this was at the end of the Gentile Times in 1914, and it was until that momentous date that he was awaiting while seated at God’s right hand on the heavenly throne. That date 1914 was the time for the tables to be turned, the time for him as installed king to go subduing in the midst of his enemies rather than for the Gentiles to continue trampling on God’s Messianic kingdom.
21. (a) Did people alive on earth in 1914 hear the heavenly announcement about the kingdom of the world? (b) But what did they see here at the earth and also hear?
21 Can there be any question that the heavenly kingdom of God by means of his anointed one or Messiah, Christ, was born and came to power at the end of the Gentile Times in early autumn of 1914? No! It is true that we who were then living on earth did not hear the announcement resounding throughout the heavens: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will rule as king forever and ever.” (Rev. 11:15) But we do remember seeing and hearing something here at the earth. What? The declaration of war by nation against nation; the tramping of millions of men marching to war; the total mobilization of nations for all-out war; the clanking of heavy mechanized firing equipment lumbering off to the front; the pious voices of priests and preachers of all denominations on both sides of the battle lines praying God’s blessing upon the soldiers on their side face to face with soldiers of the same religious faith on the enemy side; the religious chaplains acting as cheerleaders to the fighters; the contagion of war spreading, with already nine nations and globe encircling empires locked in war by October 1, 1914. We did hear and see this, from 1914 onward.
22, 23. (a) Had Jesus Christ in heaven started that world war, or what connection did he have with it? (b) What did those events mark 1914 as signifying with regard to rulership?
22 That first world war was not started by Jesus Christ, the newly enthroned King in heaven. Yet, was this not exactly what he had foretold three days before his death outside Jerusalem, saying: “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another. All these things are a beginning of pangs of distress”? Now, what was the question in answer to which Jesus Christ said this prophecy? This question of his apostles: “When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?” (Matt. 24:3, 7, 8) Even more so than any count of time, those events of 1914 and subsequent years marked that year as beginning the “conclusion of the system of things,” inasmuch as the Gentile Times ended in autumn of that year. All this was visible and audible evidence that Jesus Christ had come into his heavenly kingdom, that he was present in his Messianic kingdom, that the realization of the vision seen by the prophet Daniel had taken place in the heavens:
23 “See there! with the clouds of the heavens someone like a son of man happened to be coming; and to the Ancient of Days he gained access, and they brought him up close even before that One. And to him there were given rulership and dignity and kingdom, that the peoples, national groups and languages should all serve even him. His rulership is an indefinitely lasting rulership that will not pass away, and his kingdom one that will not be brought to ruin.”—Dan. 7:13, 14.
24. To what date had searching Bible Students pointed forward, and what were they impelled to say after the accuracy of the date was confirmed by events?
24 Decades in advance searching Bible students had pointed forward to 1914 as the Biblically marked date. But when the accuracy of the time was confirmed by world events fulfilling Bible prophecy, our conviction too of what had taken place in the invisible heavens became overwhelming, and we were impelled to join with God’s faithful worshipers up in heaven in saying: “We thank you, Jehovah God, the Almighty, the one who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and begun ruling as king. But the nations became wrathful, and your own wrath came, and the appointed time for the dead to be judged, and to give their reward to your slaves the prophets and to the holy ones and to those fearing your name, the small and the great, and to bring to ruin those ruining the earth.”—Rev. 11:16-18.
25. Jehovah God thus took to himself his great power to reign in what capacity, and what did he turn over to the one having the “legal right”?
25 Yes, at the end of the Gentile Times for the Gentile domination of the earth, Jehovah God the Almighty took to himself his great power to reign once again as King of all the realm of creation, including our earth. Having patiently permitted the Gentile domination of mankind for 2,520 years since 607 B.C.E., Jehovah God enthroned his Son, the Messianic Heir of King David, and turned over to this One with the “legal right” the domination of all the earth. This Messianic King, ruling in the “heavenly Jerusalem,” will bring to ruin all the Gentiles who are ruining the earth, but his own God-given kingdom will never be brought to ruin.
ACTION AGAINST ENEMIES
26. Why do we ask whether God’s Messianic kingdom has stood still since 1914, and, therefore, what blunt question are we obliged to ask?
26 Let it stand now as a settled fact that the Messianic kingdom of God was established, unseen to us, in the heavens in 1914. Well, then, since that date has it stood still? Certainly the world of mankind has not stood still since 1914. The Gentile nations have not stood still, and many new nations have since come into existence. In the half century since that critical year of 1914 astounding history has been made. If human creation has been on the move since then, what shall we say about the Creator God Almighty? He is not static either! His kingdom, which is the most powerful government in existence, could never be static. It has too great a role to fulfill since its birth. So, what history has it been making to prove that it exists and is functioning? To be blunt, what has God’s kingdom been doing since 1914?
27, 28. (a) Against whom has the Kingdom gone into action, as was to be expected according to Psalm 110:1, 2? (b) Was it against someone on earth or someone in heaven that the Kingdom acted first?
27 It has gone into action against its enemies, who are God’s enemies, Christ’s enemies, man’s enemies. We should have expected that, for, according to the prophecy addressed to the Messiah by King David, he was to sit at God’s right hand until the time for God to make his enemies his footstool to be trampled on. After that time, what? Then, according to Psalm 110:1, 2, “the rod of your strength Jehovah will send out of Zion, saying: ‘Go subduing in the midst of your enemies.’”
28 So, against which enemy of God’s Messianic kingdom was the Messiah’s ‘rod of strength’ stretched out first? Against the Gentile nations on earth? No; for Messiah the King did not start World War I on earth, to weaken them so as to be more easily subdued because of destroying one another. No; but his ‘rod of strength’ was stretched out first against the god of those Gentile nations, that is to say, Satan the Devil. The Gentile nations are merely human; their god, Satan the Devil, is superhuman, supernatural, spiritual. He is the most powerful enemy of all. Being spiritual, this chief enemy has had access to the holy heavens far beyond the neighborhood of our earth for millenniums of time prior to 1914. The Bible shows that.
29. (a) What kind of time was it when Jesus was born nineteen centuries ago? (b) According to the prophecies of Revelation, what was the birth of God’s kingdom to usher in?
29 Nineteen centuries ago Satan the Devil tried to have the baby Jesus destroyed at Bethlehem by inciting the fearful King Herod the Great to send soldiers there to kill all the little boys two years old and younger. (Matt. 2:1-18) Jesus’ birth had taken place in Bethlehem as foretold (Mic. 5:2), and during a time of peace called the Pax Romana. But the birth of God’s Messianic kingdom in 1914 was not meant to usher in a time of peace for either heaven or earth! Chapter eleven of the book of Revelation foretold that, when God took to himself his great power to reign universally and “the kingdom of the world” became the kingdom of our Lord God and of his Christ, the Gentile nations would be wrathful. Those nations did become wrathful, both inside and outside of Christendom. Prophesying still further of hostility, chapter twelve of Revelation gave a symbolical picture of the birth of God’s Messianic kingdom in the heavens and described the attempt of Satan the Devil to devour the kingdom at its birth, when it would seemingly be weakest, like a newborn babe. So this enemy in heaven needed to be ousted! That called for war!
30, 31. According to Revelation 12:5-12, what events in heaven did John see take place, followed by what announcement?
30 In Revelation 12:5-12 we read concerning God’s heavenly organization: “She gave birth to a son, a male, who is to shepherd all the nations with an iron rod. And her child was caught away to God and to his throne. . . . And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled but it did not prevail, neither was a place found for them any longer in heaven. So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him. And I [says the apostle John] heard a loud voice in heaven say:
31 “‘Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ [Messiah], because the accuser of our brothers has been hurled down, who accuses them day and night before our God!’”
32. What were people on earth who did not see those heavenly events due to feel as a result of them?
32 Someone may say skeptically, ‘Do you mean to say that God’s kingdom hurled Satan the Devil and his demons out of heaven and down to our earth? What reason is there for me to believe that? I never saw it.’ No, you did not; that is, not with your natural eyes. But you are inescapably feeling the effects of it, for the apostle John heard the heavenly voice continue on to say: “On this account be glad, you heavens and you who reside in them! Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.”
33. (a) What makes the difference between Satan’s activity at the earth before his ouster from heaven and his activity here since then? (b) How do World War I and the war in heaven to oust Satan compare in time?
33 The Devil and his demons would certainly have to make their invisible presence here at the earth felt if it is to be a woe for us on land and sea to have them excluded forever from heaven and confined here to the vicinity of our earth. Prior to his ouster from heaven, the situation was as the apostle Peter said: “Your adversary, the Devil, walks about like a roaring lion, seeking to devour someone.” (1 Pet. 5:8) At the same time he was “misleading the entire inhabited earth.” But since his ouster from heaven he has “great anger,” because he knows he has but a short time of activity here at the earth before something worse befalls him and his demons. Inasmuch as World War I was already raging on earth when God’s Messianic kingdom was born about October 1, 1914, the war in heaven to oust Satan and his demons must have run for some time along with the international conflict here on earth. To those persons, then, who argue that there was no ouster of Satan and his demons from heaven, because they did not see it and they do not see demons walking around on earth, we say:
34. To indicate the effect of Satan’s ouster from heaven upon us, what questions concerning the healing and bettering of world conditions do we ask?
34 Since the end of World War I in 1918 has there been a time of healing for the Gentile nations? In fulfillment of wartime propaganda, did the war prove to be the war that ended all war, and did it make the world safe for democracy, that is, democracy of the Western style? Did the League of Nations fulfill its chartered purpose and maintain the peace and security of the world? Did the happiness of the world increase with all the achievements of science and medicine? Were the morals of the world raised to a higher level or changed for the better by psychologists and sociologists? Were the religious piety, godly living and the brotherhood of men of all races deepened and broadened by the merging of religious denominations, the establishment of national councils of churches, the setting up of a world council of churches of Protestantism, the celebrating of a Holy Year in 1933 and of religious Jubilees, and, more recently, the four sessions of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council in Rome?
35. (a) What contrary questions do we ask, and with only what honest answer possible? (b) What explanation does the Bible give to account for the situation?
35 Or, on the contrary, has it been, as the voice from heaven foretold, a time of “woe for the earth and for the sea”? Does the outlook for the future give promise of early relief from our woes? Is the misleading of the people increasing, also the cheating, the false propaganda, the religious confusion and bewilderment? Is the demonic spirit, instead of the spirit of the one living and true God, spreading, yes, spreading even throughout Christendom and obsessing the people and blindly leading them into outright opposition to God’s Messianic kingdom? An honest appraisal of the world trends and conditions can answer only one way to these latter questions, and that is Yes! God’s prophetic Word gives us the only proper explanation for it, namely, the ouster of Satan and his demons from heaven to be confined here to the earth. God’s newborn Messianic kingdom brought this about by a victorious war in heaven, and now it keeps Satan and his demons confined here till it takes further action against them after a “short period of time.” That is what God’s kingdom has done since 1914!
AN AUDIBLE KINGDOM ANNOUNCEMENT
36. (a) Announcement of the birth of God’s kingdom has been made where? (b) What Biblical patterns has such making of announcement followed?
36 But another thing! The announcement of the birth of God’s kingdom at the end of the Gentile Times was not confined to the invisible heavens. Announcement of it has been made for many years now here at the earth, in the hearing of the people, and that on an ever-increasing scale. It is the practice of a new nation, when it comes into existence, to have its government make an announcement of its coming into being, after which it begins to have dealings with other nations and opens up diplomatic relations with them. As an illustration, in the year 1037 B.C.E., when Solomon was anointed to be king to succeed his father David, the joyful announcement of this was made, and the crowd in attendance from Jerusalem jubilantly shouted: “Let King Solomon live!” (1 Ki. 1:38-41) When John the Baptist acted as a forerunner of Jesus Christ, he called attention to the Messiah’s earthly coming, saying: “Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.” And when Jesus Christ returned to John after forty days of fasting and temptation in the wilderness, John pointed to him and cried out within the hearing of all present: “See, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world!”—Matt. 3:1, 2; John 1:29, 36.
37. Why did there have to be an announcement of the new government of the universe here on the earth?
37 No less so, when the Messianic kingdom of God was installed in heaven, there had to be a worldwide proclamation of that new government of the universe, for that was to be the government for doing away with all the imperfect Gentile governments of the earth and for giving the people a perfect government. This had to be, not just to follow historical examples, but because Jesus the Messiah had long ago committed the Messianic kingdom of God to making such a worldwide proclamation. Nineteen centuries ago, after foretelling the rising of nation against nation and of kingdom against kingdom, in World War I, with hard times to follow, Jesus told his disciples: “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.” (Matt. 24:7-14) Has God’s Messianic kingdom been having that done on earth since 1914? Have the Gentile nations been receiving this Kingdom witness? Yes!
38, 39. (a) In proof, to whose record since 1919 can we point? (b) What article regarding the Kingdom was published in the Watch Tower issue of September 15, 1919, and how did it remind the privileged ones of the capacity in which they served?
38 If any nation is so ignorant or so blind to the facts of history as to say No! then we can point to the record of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses from the postwar year of 1919 down till this present time. In 1919 the leading spokesman of these Christian witnesses of the Most High God emerged from the national prison where they had been confined on false charges during the world war. They began a work of revitalizing and reorganizing the International Bible Students who had been crippled by religious persecution during the war. Clearly they set before this worldwide Christian organization its postwar work. Immediately following upon a general assembly of thousands of Bible Students at Cedar Point, Ohio, U.S.A., the organization’s official magazine, The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence, in its issue of September 15, 1919, published a two-and-a-half-page article under the title “Announcing the Kingdom.” In its closing paragraphs on page 281 it said to those who were announcing the Kingdom:
39 “You are an ambassador of the King of kings and Lord of lords, announcing to the people in this dignified manner the incoming of the Golden Age, the glorious kingdom of our Lord and Master, for which the Christians have hoped and prayed for many centuries. You are an angel of peace, bearing to a war-torn, sin-sick, sorrowing and broken-hearted world the glad message of salvation. How wonderful is our privilege! . . . Ask the Lord for his guidance and direction that he may make you a true, faithful, and an efficient ambassador.”
40. How old is the practice of sending ambassadors, and what did Paul say about it to Christians long before 1914?
40 The sending forth of ambassadors from one government to another is an ancient practice. The Holy Bible takes note of ambassadors as far back as the fifteenth century Before Our Common Era. (Josh. 9:3-15, AV; AS; JPS) When the Christian apostle Paul was jailed for preaching God’s kingdom, he wrote: “I am acting as an ambassador in chains.” (Eph. 6:20) And to fellow Christians in Corinth, Greece, he wrote: “We are therefore ambassadors substituting for Christ, as though God was making entreaty through us. As substitutes for Christ we beg: ‘Become reconciled to God.’” (2 Cor. 5:19, 20) Paul and his fellow Christians were sent as ambassadors instead of Christ to a hostile world, estranged from God and needing to be reconciled. That was about nineteen centuries before God’s Messianic kingdom was born in 1914.
41. (a) What attitude toward the Kingdom did nations take in 1914 and thereafter, and did this call for a change of dealing with them? (b) Why do people need now more than before the services of ambassadors, and who have been serving as such?
41 What about now, since the Kingdom’s birth? The Gentile nations are still estranged from God. They became wrathful in 1914, for they hate God’s kingdom and they have chosen, instead, their League of Nations and its successor, the United Nations. Did that call for a change in dealing? No! Courageously God’s newborn Messianic kingdom sent forth its ambassadors to these Gentile nations even though some of these ambassadors were to become, like Paul, “an ambassador in chains.” The people of the hostile nations need to be reconciled to God and his kingdom for governing all the earth. Otherwise, the people who remain in their hostility will be destroyed in the world’s approaching Armageddon. (Rev. 16:14-16) In fairness to the people of all earthly nations, in mercy to them, God’s Messianic kingdom has sent out its anointed ambassadors to all the inhabited earth. These are the Christian Bible Students who, particularly since 1919, have been fulfilling Jesus’ prophetic command set out in Matthew 24:14, preaching this good news of God’s newborn kingdom in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations before their end comes.
42, 43. (a) What accounts for the persecution of the anointed ambassadors? (b) How did this accord with what Jesus foretold, and what has God’s kingdom been doing about it since 1914?
42 Satan the Devil, when in heaven, tried to devour God’s kingdom at its birth. Now that he has been ousted from heaven, he hates that kingdom more than ever before. He also hates the anointed ambassadors of that kingdom. His hatred accounts for the worldwide persecution of these ambassadors. The source of such persecution is uncovered in Revelation 12:13-17, which reads: “When the dragon saw that it was hurled down to the earth, it persecuted the woman that gave birth to the male child [symbol of the Kingdom]. . . . And the dragon grew wrathful at the woman, and went off to wage war with the remaining ones of her seed, who observe the commandments of God and have the work of bearing witness to Jesus.”
43 So, in his prophecy on the “conclusion of the system of things,” Jesus had correctly said to his disciples concerning our time: “Then people will deliver you up to tribulation and will kill you, and you will be objects of hatred by all the nations on account of my name.” (Matt. 24:9) But what has God’s Messianic kingdom done about this since 1914? It has protected its anointed ambassadors. Adolf Hitler tried to kill them off in his Greater German Reich. Benito Mussolini tried to suppress them in the then Fascist Italy. Joseph Stalin and Nikita Khrushchev tried to put them out of action in Communist Russia, and other dictatorial rulers and states have tried to do the same in their lands. But thousands of these anointed ambassadors, who have heavenly citizenship, have survived till today and are still active, working for the reconciliation of the estranged peoples. God’s Messianic kingdom has preserved them!
GAINING MANY SUBJECTS
44, 45. (a) Besides ambassadors, what else does a government have, and since when has the Kingdom been gathering these on earth? (b) What active step have these taken, and what shows that all of this is not accidental?
44 Every government that actually exists and functions has more than ambassadors. It also has subjects. True to pattern, God’s Messianic kingdom has for years, particularly since 1935, been gathering willing subjects, who desire to live forever on earth under the heavenly kingdom. They have heard the Kingdom ambassadors preaching the good news. From Bible prophecies they have learned that God’s Messianic kingdom is the only rightful government to take charge of all the earth after the coming “war of the great day of God the Almighty.” So they have taken the steps to be reconciled to Jehovah God and his Messianic kingdom. By now about a million of them have dedicated themselves to God and been baptized in water, thus taking their stand on the side of God’s kingdom. In further proof of this, they have joined the Kingdom ambassadors in actively preaching the Kingdom good news in about two hundred lands, in a hundred and sixty-four languages. This modern phenomenon is not accidental, but by it the prophetic vision that the apostle John saw and described is being fulfilled:
45 “I saw, and, look! a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne [of God] and before the Lamb [Jesus Christ], dressed in white robes; and there were palm branches in their hands. And they keep on crying with a loud voice, saying: ‘Salvation we owe to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb.’”—Rev. 7:9, 10.
46. (a) In view of the evidence, what should we recognize to be the biggest issue before all mankind in this day of decision? (b) How are things actually occurring according to Jesus’ parable of the sheep and goats?
46 Let no one now be blinded by the Kingdom’s enemy, Satan the Devil. Behold the evidence that God’s Messianic kingdom exists! It is in power in the heavens since 1914. It has since then been doing things, not just in the invisible heavens, but also here at the earth. God’s kingdom by means of his Messiah, Christ, is now the biggest issue before all mankind in this time of decision. The people of all nations are being divided over this issue, like sheep and goats. Things are occurring just as the Lord Jesus Christ said in his prophecy on the “conclusion of the system of things,” namely: “When the Son of man arrives in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”—Matt. 25:31, 32.
47. (a) Proving oneself a “goat” would mean what for one? (b) What God’s kingdom has already done since 1914 is an ironclad guarantee of what else about it?
47 It will prove disastrous to you if you prove yourself a symbolic “goat” that has shown no favor to the Kingdom ambassadors, the spiritual brothers of the reigning King. Remember: God’s Messianic kingdom has already been doing things since 1914, and these are an ironclad guarantee that it will do all the other things foretold in the prophecies of the Holy Bible, namely, destroy all the goatlike people on earth, bring the world empire of false religion to everlasting ruin, bring an Armageddon of destruction upon all Gentile nations that continue refusing to yield over the domination of the earth to God’s rightful government, remove Satan the Devil and his demons from earth’s vicinity by hurling them, completely chained, into the abyss, and give all mankind a clean, uplifting, life-giving worldwide government, even resurrecting the ransomed and redeemed dead from their graves to enjoy an earthly paradise with the sheeplike survivors of Armageddon.
48. To what reality should everybody become alive, and then what should one prove oneself, with God’s kingdom then bound to do what for one?
48 Let everybody become alive to the reality of God’s Messianic kingdom since 1914! Wisely, then, prove yourself a sheeplike person. Be gathered to the Shepherd-King’s right side of favor and preservation. Then, in due time, you will hear his approving words welcoming you into blessed everlasting life on a paradise earth under God’s Messianic kingdom. (Matt. 25:32-46) Let God’s kingdom lovingly do this for you!