A Political Union Doomed from Its Start
AN OLD saying is: “Politics makes strange bedfellows.” It is true—there is much rivalry in politics and generally very little unity. But when something threatens their way of operation or exposes the general corruption existing in politics, or if it in some way seems to stand in the way of their plans, they join forces with erstwhile rivals or even enemies and distastefully work together to overcome what they consider a common threat. If their temporary cooperation succeeds, then they split up again and resume their bickering and fighting.
The Bible is not subjectively concerned with politics and Christians have never had anything to do with it, but the Bible does describe some of the developments of politics as they affect the lives of God’s people and as they cross paths with his purposes. One of these developments is the greatest and most far-reaching coalition of political powers ever undertaken, combining some of the bitterest enemies in a common cause. But it is doomed from its start, for it is a united rebellion against the Sovereign God of the universe. It is the very same kind of rebellion that expressed itself in the building of the Tower of Babel, with its resulting confusion.a—Gen. 11:1-9.
The preceding two issues of this magazine have discussed the scarlet-colored beast of the vision of Revelation and have pointed out that it is a prophetic picture of the international alliance first called the League of Nations, and now the United Nations. The scarlet-colored beast has seven heads and ten horns. These are, of course, symbolic. In Daniel’s prophecy we can get the understanding of what horns on a symbolic beast represent. Here the two horns on the ram of Daniel’s vision stood for the kings of Media and Persia and the horn on the he-goat stood for the first king of Greece. (Dan. 8:20-22) Correspondingly, the horns on the scarlet-colored beast represent kings, or national rulers. Horns on an animal can be used aggressively and violently, and this is how the scarlet-colored beast uses its horns. The vision to John continues:
“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. 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.”—Rev. 17:12-14.
Of the ten horns on the wild beast, one and possibly two belong to the Seventh World Power, Britain and America. The Medo-Persians were a dual power pictured by two horns on the head of the ram. In John’s day Rome, the sixth head, was in power. He was told that the seventh symbolic head had not yet arrived. John was also told that the ten kings had not yet received a kingdom. Ten kings would symbolize all the national governments that are members of the international peace-and-security organization. Of course, in John’s day the scarlet-colored beast itself was not present, for the League of Nations did not come into existence until after World War I. Even the seventh head of the wild beast out of the sea (Rev. 13:1, 2) had not yet appeared. The scarlet-colored beast, being an image of the original beast “out of the sea,” could not precede that which it images. Besides, the scarlet-colored beast is shown to be an “eighth king” or world power. The eighth could not appear on the scene before the seventh, but the Bible reveals that it rules concurrently with the seventh for a brief time.
A “ONE HOUR” UNITY
In fact, the duration of its existence is given to us by John when he says that the ten kings will receive authority as kings one hour with the wild beast. If we count the time of the beginning of the Seventh World Power from the time that England itself began to have dominance, we would count from 1763. Of course, it was not until the nineteenth century that the dual feature of the world power arrived, with the United States coming into prominence. Even so, that is only a short while, as stated by the angel in Revelation. (Rev. 17:10) Therefore, the existence of the scarlet-colored beast with its ten horns, that is, the League of Nations and its successor the United Nations, from 1920 onward, must be still shorter and the Bible states that it is just “one hour.” This would be a very short time, indeed, for it to exercise influence in world affairs. In fact, many governments did not get into this international wild beast organization until it appeared in its new guise, the United Nations, in 1945, and others even since then. So their time for membership in it is still shorter.
The vision tells us that these kings have “one thought.” Wherein does such unity lie? Is it that they have one desire for all nations to cooperate in brotherly love and bring true peace and unity lastingly to the earth? Well, the way the veto power has been used in sessions of the Security Council of the U.N., and the refusal on the part of some members to pay the required taxes for certain military ventures of the U.N. and the disorders that have featured some of the meetings of the General Assembly and the continual lack of oneness of mind on the crucial proposals on general disarmament and stopping nuclear testings, and so forth—all this proves that these ten kings are not one in thought in this direction.
The complete oneness or the “one thought” on the part of the modern-day ten kings is in opposing God’s Messianic kingdom. This is the one thing upon which they come to complete unity. The Bible and fulfilled prophecy show that the kingdom of God was born or set up in the heavens in the hands of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, in the year 1914. The nations were put on notice as to this, some of the clergymen of Christendom even acknowledging that the time was at hand for the close of the times of the Gentiles and that the revelation of the Lord could be expected at any moment. They even declared “that all human schemes of reconstruction must be subsidiary to the second coming of the Lord, because all nations will be subject to his rule.”b Nonetheless, instead of willingly acknowledging the sovereignty of God’s enthroned king, the nations wanted to continue with man’s rule and they were not wanting to give up their own sovereignty, so they formed a conspiracy that expresses itself in the League of Nations and, today, the United Nations.
This is nothing unexpected, for Jehovah God foretold it, not only in the book of Revelation nineteen hundred years ago, but in the book of Psalms nearly three thousand years ago, for it is stated: “Why have the nations been in tumult and the national groups themselves kept muttering an empty thing? The kings of earth take their stand and high officials themselves have massed together as one against Jehovah and against his anointed one [Messiah or Christ], saying, ‘Let us tear their bands apart and cast their cords away from us!’” (Ps. 2:1-3) So all the kings associated with the scarlet-colored wild beast give their power and authority to it, and even the other nations that are not members of the United Nations are also cooperating with the beast in this opposition to God’s kingdom.
HOW THEY FIGHT THE LAMB
Now, these ten kings are included among the kings that are being gathered under demon influence to the war of the great day of God the Almighty at Har–Magedon. (Rev. 16:14, 16) But they cannot fight against the Lamb of God himself in a direct way, for he is in heaven and they are on earth. He is spiritual, invisible, inaccessible to them. How can they show their viciousness and try to erase from the earth everything representing the Kingdom and any proclamation of it? It is by attacking the King’s earthly representatives, his spirit-begotten followers, the members of the Christian congregation who have been chosen by him and are striving to be faithful, true and loyal to the Lamb. They become very clearly evident and identifiable to these kings by reason of their neutrality toward all the conflicts of the nations and by reason of the fact that they proclaim the good news of the kingdom of the Lamb, the Anointed One of God, and urge the people to look to that kingdom for world peace. (Matt. 24:14; Eph. 6:11-18; Acts 5:28, 29; Isa. 9:6, 7) The attack of the nations on these representatives, these spiritual brothers of Christ, is accounted as a direct attack against him, in harmony with the rule expressed by Jesus himself at Matthew 25:45 when he sends the “goats” into everlasting cutting-off.
In what way do these “ten kings” who compose the real power of the United Nations fight against the spiritual brothers of Christ? Well, they try to make it appear that the proclamation of the Kingdom message is against the best interests of the people and that it hinders the earthly kings from getting the full, unqualified support of the people for their so-called peace movement. Actually they are inducing the people to worship the scarlet-colored wild beast, the image of the beast. But, being in power, they frame laws and apply laws in a way that makes it seem that their fight is entirely legal. They stoop to “framing trouble by decree,” as foretold by the psalmist, to make their attack seem to be in the national interests.—Ps. 94:20.
The nations not only fight against the spiritual brothers of Christ but they also fight against those who take a position alongside and who cooperate with these spiritual brothers, namely, the “great crowd” whom John saw standing before the throne of God and shouting: “Salvation we owe to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Rev. 7:9, 10, 13-17) Even now we see the opposition of many of the national rulers against the preaching of the good news, although the scarlet-colored beast itself has not yet been steered directly against God’s people. In many of the nations opposing God’s kingdom, the harlot Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion, eggs them on. Examples of this are Portugal, Spain and Greece. Also, the complete Communist bloc of nations bitterly fights against these representatives of the Lamb.
THE LAMB DISPLAYS LIONLIKE QUALITIES
The earthly followers of the Lamb of God are also lamblike in disposition and they have no share in the literal fight against the nations that come up against them. Their fight is a spiritual one described in Ephesians 6:11, 12, against the invisible demons, who are gathering the nations to Har–Magedon. Their work is an educational work, informing people of God’s kingdom, showing them that man’s rule will not succeed in bringing peace to the earth, teaching persons who want to learn the fine truths of God’s Word. But even so, the symbolic ten horns should not expect to win the battle. They should not entertain any hope of destroying these lamblike ones, for they should remember that the Lamb is also “the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah” and in battle he will display his lionlike qualities against God’s foes. (Rev. 5:5; Gen. 49:9, 10) They should look at the second Psalm again and see how the Sovereign God in the heavens views them: “The very One sitting in the heavens will laugh; Jehovah himself will hold them in derision. At that time he will speak to them in his anger and in his hot displeasure he will disturb them, saying: ‘I, even I, have installed my king upon Zion, my holy mountain.’ Let me refer to the decree of Jehovah; He has said to me: ‘You are my son; I, today, I have become your father. Ask of me, that I may give nations as your inheritance and the ends of the earth as your own possession. You will break them with an iron scepter, as though a potter’s vessel you will dash them to pieces.’”—Ps. 2:4-9.
So Jehovah has fulfilled the request of his Son at the end of the Gentile Times in 1914 by giving him the Kingdom. The nations are his inheritance; he is to break them into pieces as with a rod of iron. He is the “Lord of lords and King of kings,” a new title given him in his superior position as a Lord and King above all lords and kings of this earth. He has all necessary authority in heaven and on the earth, which he received from his Father.—Matt. 28:18; Acts 2:32-36.
Consequently, the “ten kings” with their “one thought” have no chance whatsoever to win in the fight against the powerful Lion of the tribe of Judah, who will conquer them completely. Sharing with him in his conquest will be “those called and chosen and faithful with him.” This would mean the 144,000 of them, who will all finally stand with him on the heavenly Mount Zion. (Rev. 14:1-3) The ones who died faithful prior to the battle and who were rewarded with a resurrection to life with him in the heavens will be with him in the battle. All of these are now gathered with him awaiting the signal for the battle to begin. (Rev. 14:13; 2:26-28) However, we know there are yet those on the earth who are standing faithfully also waiting for the battle to begin, but who will not have any part in the actual fighting with material weapons. They will stand firm against the furious attack of Gog of Magog, Satan the Devil, and of his entire beastly organization. (Ezekiel 38, 39) They are known as the remnant of Christ’s spiritual brothers, but, being faithful through the fight, they will be accredited with a share in the conquest. Here we have added proof, assurance, that a remnant of Christ’s spiritual brothers will survive Armageddon in the flesh and will for a while be in the flesh on earth in the new order after the battle. Alongside them will be the “great crowd” of persons who serve with them.
So the failure of the political union brought about by the “one thought” that these national rulers have will not be because of mismanagement or because it takes the wrong turn, but it will be because it is doomed from the start. It is a conspiracy against the Almighty God, the Sovereign of the universe, and his enthroned King. It is against the interests of the people, for it tends to turn their hopes and even their worship toward something that is set up in the place of God’s kingdom and thereby leads them with the “ten kings” into a fight against God. What a futile thing to do against the Creator of the unfathomable universe! Jehovah himself warns: “Jehovah is taking vengeance against his adversaries, and he is resentful toward his enemies. In the face of his denunciation who can stand? And who can rise up against the heat of his anger?”—Nah. 1:2, 6.
But the prophet goes on to say: “Jehovah is good, a stronghold in the day of distress. And he is cognizant of those seeking refuge in him.” Even to national rulers Jehovah warns: “And now, O kings, exercise insight; let yourselves be corrected, O judges of the earth. Serve Jehovah with fear and be joyful with trembling. Kiss the son, that He may not become incensed and you may not perish from the way, for his anger flares up easily. Happy are all those taking refuge in him.” Happy are we if we listen to the warning given to kings, and ourselves take refuge in the name of Jehovah, which is a strong tower for all those who love him. Only in this way can we escape the doom of those who are led by this conspiracy to fight against God. Only in this way may we be able to have a hope of everlasting life under His glorious Kingdom rule.—Nah. 1:7; Ps. 2:10-12; Prov. 18:10.
b See The Golden Age as of July 28, 1926, page 693c, published by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society.