The Approaching Peace of a Thousand Years
“They . . . will rule as kings with him for the thousand years.”—Rev. 20:6.
1. Planetary peace on the moon or peace here on earth—which do the people prefer, and why?
WHEN the three astronauts in their man-made spacecraft orbited around the moon ten times at Christmastime of the year 1968, they observed that things were very peaceful at the moon just seventy miles away. When they returned safely to our earth, they reentered a world in which wars raged and where great fears were being expressed of the breaking out of a third world war, a nuclear war. Yet they were most happy to get back to our troubled earth. And why not? Who is it that wants to go to the moon in order to enjoy planetary peace? The thing that ordinary people want is world peace right here on earth, where we belong. This desire of their hearts is not misplaced, for right here on earth is where they will enjoy a peace of a thousand years, and this beginning right soon. What if you should live to see it begin? You would consider yourself to be most highly favored indeed.
2, 3. (a) Why have people lost confidence in the ability of world rulers to establish lasting world peace? (b) What about a population explosion, and how does it affect peace?
2 World conditions today will no doubt prompt you to ask, “Who will usher in and maintain this peace of a thousand years?” After all the display that men of world affairs have made of themselves as peacemakers and peace-keepers, you have properly lost confidence in the ability of men to do such a colossal thing. To you the obstacles in the way of establishing a lasting world peace seem insurmountable for men. You are aware of the explosive increase in the earth’s human population, and you read the full-page advertisement in the newspaper, with the headline: “The Population Bomb Threatens the Peace of the World,” ads of this sort being repeatedly published by the “Campaign to Check the Population Explosion.” (New York Times, February 9, 1969) Also, under the shocking headline “Briton Foresees a Hell on Earth” you read the statement made at London, England, November 23, 1968, by Lord Ritchie-Calder, president of the Conservation Society, in which he said, in part:
3 “I am always appalled when I hear people complacently talking about the population explosion as though it belonged to the future, or world hunger as though it were threatening, when hundreds of millions can testify that it is already here—swear it with panting breath. . . . My concern is to conserve the human spirit not from the hell hereafter but from hell upon earth.”—New York Times, as of November 24, 1968.
4. What did Huxley point out was the world’s most pressing problem, and what question now takes away peace of mind?
4 This only serves to confirm what Julian Huxley, former director general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, said in the same city fourteen years earlier (September 7, 1954) to the conference of Parliamentarians for World Government, namely, that “the world’s most pressing problem was the growth of population, which is threatening to outstrip food supplies.” (New York Times, September 8, 1954) A thoughtful person, therefore, asks, What will the population and food situation be fourteen years from now? What we are reasonably led to expect does not give us any peace of mind.
5. Why does settling minor wars not change the overall picture, and what disturbing developments are there in the Far East?
5 The settling of minor wars, as in Vietnam and in the Middle East, cannot change the overall picture. The hostility of the two great political groups still remains. In discussing the “Nation’s Business,” the New York Times of December 6, 1968 (page 96, paragraphs 4, 5), said: “ . . . the cold war, though vastly changed, is far from over. Its perils are not diminishing. If anything they’re on the increase.” It expressed the fear that continued disintegration of the Soviet bloc of nations may tempt the Russians into new and desperate measures. This reminds us that the Soviet Union’s next-door neighbor, Communist China, is a big problem for her, yes, and for much of the rest of the world. Added to the awesomeness of her tremendous population is the disquieting fact that Communist China is now a nuclear power with the capacity of launching long-range missiles. By continued success in the missile field and by beginning to stockpile her weapons in the year 1972, and then keeping this up, the Communist Chinese “should be in a position to deploy 15 or 20 Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles by about 1975.”—New York Times, February 3, 1969.
6, 7. On January 20, 1969, who offered himself for solving the problems of world peace, and with what words?
6 Truly the problems that need to be solved for world peace by human means are formidable, and yet there are men who offer themselves to tackle such problems. One such appears to be the thirty-seventh president of the United States of America. In his address following his inauguration on January 20, 1969, he said:
7 “I have taken an oath today in the presence of God and my countrymen, to uphold and to defend the Constitution of the United States. To that oath, I now add this sacred commitment: I shall consecrate my office, my energies and all the wisdom I can summon to the cause of peace. . . . The greatest honor history can bestow is the title of peacemaker. This honor now beckons America—the chance to help lead the world at last out of the valley of turmoil and on to that high ground of peace that man has dreamed of since the dawn of civilization. If we succeed generations to come will say of us now living that we mastered our moment, that we helped make the world safe for mankind. . . . Our destiny offers not the cup of despair, but the chalice of opportunity. So let us seize it, not in fear, but in gladness—and ‘riders on the earth together,’ let us go forward, firm in our faith, steadfast in our purpose, cautious of the dangers, but sustained by our confidence in the will of God and the promise of man.”—New York Times, January 21, 1969.
8. What beatitude of Christ may the newly sworn-in president have had in mind, but what Bible prophecy did he definitely have in mind?
8 Possibly the president had in mind the famous words of the Man of whom he claims to be a follower, as recorded by Jesus’ biographer Matthew Levi: “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” (Matt. 5:9, AV) But at least the president had in mind an ancient prophecy of the eighth century before our Common Era. How can we be sure of this? Because, when being sworn in with upraised right hand, he had his left hand resting upon two family Bibles, held one on top of the other by his wife and opened at the prophecy of Isaiah, chapter two, verse four, which reads: “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (AV) (New York Times, January 20, 1969, front page, last column) Having his left hand at that Bible verse was, not accidental, but of design. In that Bible verse was expressed “the will of God” of more than two millenniums ago, and now the president was adding “the promise of man.”
DEPENDENT UPON POLITICAL RULERS?
9. Is the realizing of that Bible prophecy dependent upon a condition, and what, then, about a warless world?
9 Certainly if the prophetic words of Isaiah, chapter two, verse four, bespeak the will of Almighty God, they will without fail come to reality and there will one day be universal peace. But does the ultimate realization of those prophetic words require a condition? Is their realization conditional upon the “promise of man”? Does their realization depend upon the “promise” of the political rulers of the nations and people? If it were, well, then, would a warless world ever come to earth?
10, 11. (a) To bring in the world state as willed by God, how do men of the world think of bringing it in? (b) How does God compare their way and his way?
10 Prominent, influential men of the world may see the final state of the world that God has willed. Moved with religious emotion, they may in all sincerity promise to use their political office, their energies and all the wisdom that they can summon to work for realizing that world state as willed by God. But what if such men, when making their promise, have in mind working for it in their own way according to the wisdom of this world, and not in God’s way according to his wisdom as set forth in his written Word, the Holy Bible? Have we reason to believe that God will prosper their efforts to fulfill their “promise” in their own self-determined way? Or, may it be true that such men of “promise” will really be working against the “will of God”? Has man’s way up till now for bringing in a lasting universal peace been God’s way? The apparent lack of God’s blessing upon man’s way of doing it till now would answer No! But through the same prophet Isaiah God himself answers this vital question, saying:
11 “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For . . . so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”—Isa. 55:8-11, AV.
12, 13. (a) After World War I what was man’s way for preventing another world war? (b) How did the Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America endorse that way as being God’s will?
12 God’s spoken and written word will never fail. But what about the word of “promise” made by men in political power? At the close of World War I in 1918 such men were bent on preventing the occurrence of another world conflict. What was the way that the political men who had to do with the peace treaty decided upon to prevent it? By embodying in the peace treaty the so-called Covenant of the League of Nations. When the peace treaty went into force, so did the League of Nations. Through that League of Nations the men supporting it promised much. Seemingly the League of Nations was according to the will of God, because the religious clergy of Christendom backed up the League. The Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America said as if it were a spokesman for God:
13 “Such a League is not a mere political expedient; it is rather the political expression of the Kingdom of God on earth. . . . The Church can give a spirit of goodwill, without which no League of Nations can endure. . . . The League of Nations is rooted in the Gospel. Like the Gospel, its objective is ‘peace on earth, good-will toward men.’”—Federal Council Bulletin, Vol. II, No. 1, as of January 1919, pages 12-14.
14. (a) What proved the churches to be wrong as regards the League of Nations? (b) What attitude do religionists now take toward the United Nations, and is this any guarantee for its endurance?
14 Evidently those churches of Christendom were wrong about this, for that League of Nations did not endure. The very thing that it was designed by man’s wisdom to prevent was the thing that put it out of action, namely, World War II. The League turned over its effects to the United Nations, the world peace organization that came into existence on October 24, 1945. Once again this international organization for world peace and security would seem to be according to the “will of God,” inasmuch as the clergy of Christendom piously support it. Even the popes of Vatican City have come out in support of it, Pope Paul VI personally addressing it on one occasion at its New York headquarters. Today one hundred and twenty-six nations are members of it, including the nation that recently inaugurated its thirty-seventh president. The new president has indicated how he will fulfill the “promise of man,” and that is by working with the United Nations, together with other but smaller international alliances. But the blessing of the clergy of Christendom gives no more guarantee that this United Nations will endure than it did for the League of Nations.
15. Are there grounds for history to bestow the title of Peacemaker upon the League of Nations and the United Nations, and is the Bible prophecy carved on the plaza wall being fulfilled by the U.N.?
15 History cannot bestow upon the League of Nations the honor of bearing the title of Peacemaker. There is no basis for history to honor the United Nations with the title of Peacemaker. While the United Nations mouths great words of peace and carries on negotiations to restore or keep the peace in different areas of the earth, its member nations are preparing for war. The strongest members of its Security Council are the most mightily armed nations in all human history. World peace today, such as it is, is a peace of terror, a peace maintained only because of the terrorizing fear of nuclear, bacteriological and radiological war that spells the doom of modern civilization. Where, then, is the fulfillment of the words that are carved prominently on a wall at 42nd Street facing the plaza of the United Nations amidst New York city? What words? These: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
NOT CONDITIONED ON “PROMISE OF MAN”
16. What preliminary requirement foretold in Isaiah 2:4 are the nations that assume to be peacemakers not fulfiling?
16 Regardless of what human history as written by uninspired men may do as to honoring men and nations with titles, God himself does not purpose to bestow the “greatest honor” of the title of Peacemaker upon any politician of this last half of the twentieth century. This honor at His hand is not now beckoning to any member of the United Nations or to any nation outside it. Not a single one of the nations and peoples of the world is accepting from God’s mouth what the prophecy of Isaiah 2:4 says would precede the beating of swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks and the learning of war no more by the nations. Those opening words of this prophetic verse read: “And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people.”
17, 18. (a) What corresponding prophecy repeats that requirement? (b) How do the nations act toward that requirement, and what title will divine history not bestow upon them?
17 A prophecy of that same ancient time that corresponds with that of Isaiah 2:4, the prophecy in Micah 4:3, reads: “And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”—AV.
18 The nations are not letting themselves be judged by the Lord God. They submit their problems to the General Assembly or the Security Council of the United Nations or to its International Court of Justice at The Hague in the Netherlands. They do not go by the judgments that are set down in God’s written Word, the Holy Bible. The nations, even the “strong nations” that are “afar off” from where the prophets Isaiah and Micah lived, do not take any rebuke from the Lord God as set out in his written Word or as quoted by his mouthpieces from that written Word. If they did accept and heed his judgment and his rebuke, they would beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks and not lift up the sword of war against one another or even learn war anymore. But everybody knows that they are not doing so. Hence, regardless of the “promise of man,” no lasting world peace can be hoped for from the nations, either in a united organization or singly. No political ruler or nation will yet step forward and be the one that divine history will greatly honor with the title of Peacemaker.
19. Is Isaiah 2:4 dependent upon the “promise of man”, and from what fact can persons yearning for peace take comfort?
19 Nothing in the way of a disarmed, peace-learning world can be expected from the “promise of man” that pursues the way and wisdom of man, not God’s way and wisdom, which are heaven-high above man’s. The Almighty God, Creator of heaven and earth, is not dependent upon the “promise of man.” His prediction of the future is not conditioned upon it. His word at Isaiah 2:4 is an unconditional prophecy. Even though the people and strong nations of today are planning and acting against it, that glorious prophecy will come true. God will see to that, for what man, what people, what strong nation can succeed against Him? From this sure fact let all persons who yearn for everlasting universal peace as foretold in God’s Word take comfort.
20, 21. (a) Why has God not changed with regard to his stated purpose? (b) With what words of Isaiah 9:6, 7 did Jehovah foretell his Peacemaker?
20 God does not change with regard to his stated purpose. For almost two millenniums now he has had the one whom he has anointed or consecrated to serve as Peacemaker for all mankind. By the prophet Isaiah God foretold the disarming of earth’s inhabitants and the learning of war no more. By the same prophet God foretold this Peacemaker. We have already considered Isaiah, chapter two, verse four. Turn now to Isa chapter nine, verses six and seven, and read of the birth and work of this Peacemaker:
21 “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”—AV.
22. How does this prophecy indicate the one to whom we must look for a peaceful reign of a thousand years?
22 Hear again those prophetic words: “Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.” In those words is given God’s unbreakable promise of an unending government of endless peace. It is the government of a child born into the family line of King David, the son whose name was to be called “The Prince of Peace.” His life will have to be as long as his peaceful government—endless, immortal. The fact that his name was also to be called “The everlasting Father” bears this out. This would result in his being the Permanent Heir of King David, inasmuch as the divine prophecy says that this peaceful endless government would be “upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever.” It is to the reign of this Permanent Heir of King David as The Prince of Peace that we must look for the approaching peace of a thousand years. He is the one whom the Lord God honors with the title of Peacemaker, and not some politician or some nation of this twentieth century.
23. Why should we not lose faith in the coming true of Isaiah’s prophecy even though it was given so long ago?
23 It is true that more than two and a half millenniums have passed since that prophecy was uttered and written down by God’s prophet Isaiah, and here we are in a time when nations are trying to stave off the world war that would be the greatest and worst of all human history. But we must not lose faith in the coming true of Isaiah’s prophecy of the Peacemaker and of eternal peace on earth. The zeal of the Lord of hosts is behind this prophecy, which He himself inspired by his holy spirit. The prophecy closes by saying: “The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” His zeal has not cooled off by now regarding the prophecy, for his own name and reputation are at stake in connection with it. He has never lied in anything else; he will not prove to be a liar as regards this prophecy either. He is the “God, that cannot lie.”—Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18, AV.
SOMEONE GREATER THAN KING SOLOMON
24. What does history show as to whether any of the kings of Jerusalem from Isaiah’s time on proved to be the promised Prince of Peace?
24 God’s mouthpiece, the prophet Isaiah, continued to prophesy on into the reign of King Hezekiah of Jerusalem, but Hezekiah did not prove to be the promised “child” or “son” who was to be honored with the title of Peacemaker, The Prince of Peace. Neither did the seven kings who followed Hezekiah upon the “throne of David” at Jerusalem, down to the last king, Zedekiah, prove to be the promised Prince of Peace. In fact, in the eleventh year of the reign of King Zedekiah the holy city of Jerusalem and its temple as built by the earlier King Solomon were destroyed by the armies of pagan Babylon, and the conquered people were deported as exiles to far-off Babylon. Only seventy years later did the city of Jerusalem and a temple for God’s worship begin to be built by released exiles.
25. When and where did Isaiah’s prophecy begin to be fulfilled by the birth of the “child,” the “son”, David’s Permanent Heir?
25 Well, then, was the “zeal of the LORD of hosts” frustrated and cooled down? Not at all! Despite this apparent failure of Isaiah’s prophecy, God’s zeal was as hot as ever for the performing of the prophecy. The “throne of David” was never again set up at Jerusalem, but that did not matter. The line of the royal family of King David was not blotted out but continued on. Then five hundred and thirty-five years after Jerusalem began to be rebuilt Isaiah’s prophecy began to be fulfilled by the birth of the promised “child,” the “son” who was to be the Permanent Heir of King David. This occurred in the second year before the start of our Common Era; in other words, in the year 2 B.C.E. It occurred at the birthplace of King David, namely, Bethlehem-Judah, in fulfillment of Micah’s prophecy (Mic 5:2).
26, 27. According to Luke, whom did God make witnesses on the night of the child’s birth?
26 In order to prove that his ancient prophecy had come true, the zealous Lord of hosts would certainly have witnesses to the birth of the promised Prince of Peace. First of all he made angels witnesses to the child’s birth. Then he made shepherds of Bethlehem witnesses of the event. By night in the early autumn of the year 2 B.C.E. the angel of the Lord God appeared to those shepherds watching over their sheep in the field near Bethlehem. An investigator of the facts of the birth, a medical doctor by the name of Luke, though not himself delivering the child, reports: “An angel of the Lord flashed upon them, the glory of the Lord shone all round them. They were terribly afraid, but the angel said to them, ‘Have no fear. This is good news I am bringing you, news of a great joy that is meant for all the People. To-day you have a saviour born in the town of David, the Lord messiah. And here is a proof for you: you will find a baby wrapped up and lying in a stall for cattle.’ Then a host of heaven’s army suddenly appeared beside the angel, extolling God and saying, ‘Glory to God in high heaven, and peace on earth for men whom he favours!’”—Luke 2:8-14, Mo.
27 Doctor Luke tells us that the shepherds went and found the newborn baby, and thus they became eyewitnesses of the birth of “the Lord messiah,” along with the heavenly angels. Doctor Luke closes, saying: “Then the shepherds went away back, glorifying and extolling God for all that they had heard and seen—as they had been told they would.”—Luke 2:15-20, Mo.
28. Forty days later, who became witnesses to the child’s birth?
28 Forty days later the God-fearing man Simeon and then the prophetess Anna saw and identified the child when he was brought to the temple at Jerusalem. In this way they also became witnesses to the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy concerning the Prince of Peace.—Luke 2:22-38.
29. By what name and titles was this one called, and what does his name mean?
29 The angel spoke of the child as “the Lord messiah.” Greek-speaking Jews of that day would say “the Lord Christ,” for “messiah” and “Christ” mean the same thing, “anointed one.” That is to say, God’s anointed one. According to God’s instruction to his virgin mother he was given the personal name Jeshua; but the Greek-speaking Jews like Doctor Luke called him Jesus. So with his title he was called Jeshua Messiah or Jesus Christ. (Luke 1:26-33; Matt. 1:1, 20-25) Because he was a descendant of King David he was also called “the Son of David.” Why was he given the personal name Jesus? The Dictionary of the Bible, by Dr. William Smith (page 1346), edition of 1894, says that the name Jeshua or Jesus means “Help of Jehovah,” or “Saviour.” This corresponds with what God’s angel told his foster father, carpenter Joseph at Nazareth: “You must call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”—Matt. 1:18-25.
30. (a) Why was King Solomon not the one to usher in the reign of a millennium of peace? Of whom was he, when faithful, a type?
30 Among the royal forefathers was the wisest man of ancient times, King Solomon the son of David. His name means “Peaceful,” or “Peace.” Quite appropriately, he reigned at Jerusalem, the name of which means “Possession of Twofold Peace.” Despite this combination of names Solomon’s reign did not usher in a millennium of peace. At most it brought in a peace of forty years. Despite his wise start as king of Jerusalem, he turned out bad in his old age. He became oppressive to the people of Israel. He yielded to the pressure of his many foreign wives and joined them in worshiping other gods than Jehovah God. He thus lost his peace with the one living and true God, who expressed his indignation by ripping ten of the twelve tribes of Israel away from the kingdom of Solomon’s successors. (1 Ki. 11:7–12:24; Neh. 13:26, 27) But during the more than half of his forty-year reign that Solomon was faithful to Jehovah as God and wrote three books of the Holy Bible, Solomon was used as a prophetic figure of the true Messiah or Christ.
31. (a) Why could Jesus speak of himself as “something more than Solomon”? (b) Why did he not get David’s throne on earth?
31 Unlike Solomon, Jesus Christ as a perfect man on earth never proved unfaithful to God. He worthily bore the name Jeshua or Jesus, which means “Help of Jehovah,” or “Salvation of Jehovah.” Solomon his ancestor had been anointed with holy oil to be king over all Israel, but Jesus was anointed with holy spirit from heaven at the time of his water baptism in the Jordan River, God’s voice being heard by John the Baptist, saying: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:13-17, AV) Jesus thereby became God’s Anointed One or Christ in a sense superior to Solomon. Without egotism or exaggeration Jesus could speak of himself as being “something more than Solomon.” (Matt. 12:42) By his faithfulness he maintained his right to the “throne of David” or the kingly rulership over all Israel that such throne symbolized. But God never gave the anointed Jesus that “throne of David” on earth. (Luke 1:32, 33) First, God tested Jesus’ faithfulness to the limit, letting him die as a perfect human sacrifice on an execution stake, that thus Jesus might “save his people from their sins.”—Matt. 1:21.
32. (a) What indicates whether Jesus kept his peace with God down to the night of his betrayal? (b) Why did Jesus not accept kingship from Devil or man?
32 The anointed Jesus kept his peace with Jehovah God clear to the end of his earthly life. Shortly before he was betrayed and turned over to the executioners he said to the eleven faithful ones of his twelve apostles: “I leave you peace, I give you my peace. I do not give it to you the way that the world gives it.” (John 14:27) Hours afterward, when standing before the trial judge, the Roman governor Pontius Pilate, the peaceful Jesus said to him: “My kingdom is no part of this world. . . . my kingdom is not from this source.” It was not at Jesus’ request that Pontius Pilate put over the head of Jesus on the execution stake the notice reading: “Jesus the Nazarene the King of the Jews.” (John 18:36; 19:16-22) Jesus refused to accept kingship at the hand of Devil or man. He died on the execution stake, waiting on his God Jehovah to give him the “throne of David his father” to which he was the Permanent Heir. (Matt. 4:8-11; Luke 1:32, 33; John 6:14, 15) He died true and loyal to what he had preached, namely, “The kingdom of God has drawn near.”—Mark 1:14, 15; Matt. 4:12-17.
33. Why, unlike Solomon, does Jesus Christ now live, and how can he usher in the peace of a thousand years?
33 Today after almost three millenniums, unfaithful Solomon still sleeps in death with his forefathers. (1 Ki. 11:41-43, AV) Today, after more than nineteen hundred years from his sacrificial death on the execution stake outside the walls of Jerusalem, Jesus Christ lives! On the third day of his death the Almighty God Jehovah raised him from the dead to life as his spiritual Son in heaven, clothing him with immortality and incorruption. As Jesus Christ manifested himself to his disciples after his resurrection from the dead, during forty days before his ascension to heaven, there came to be upward of five hundred eyewitnesses to the resurrected Jesus Christ. (Acts 1:1-5; 2:22-36; 1 Cor. 15:3-9) He now being alive forevermore, he can indeed become “The everlasting Father” to the dying world of mankind. Also, of his peaceful government over mankind there does not need to be any end and there “shall be no end.” (Isa. 9:6, 7, AV) He is the heavenly Ruler able to usher in upon war-torn mankind the peace of a thousand years. The United Nations cannot do so!
THE MILLENNIAL PEACE APPROACHING
34. (a) Why does this seem to be the most appropriate epoch for him to begin his peaceful government? (b) Who especially must first be removed, and why?
34 When, though, does the Prince of Peace start his government of an endless peace? Righteously disposed people today are crying out for such a government. Does not the very world situation mark this as the epoch in which it would be most fitting for Jehovah God to bring in such a government according to his unbreakable promise of Isaiah 9:6, 7? Apparently so. But first the obstructors of peace must be cleared out of the way. The greatest obstructor is one over whom neither the United Nations nor any single nation or people have any control, for he is superhuman. He is the one who offered Jesus Christ all the kingdoms of this world if he would turn away from worshiping Jehovah as God, worshiping the great Tempter instead. This greatest peace obstructor is named Satan the Devil. He is the prince of legions of devils or demons. (Matt. 4:8-11; 12:24-28, AV) Jesus Christ called him also “the ruler of this world,” whereas the Christian apostle Paul called him “the god of this system of things.” The apostle John says: “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.”—John 12:31; 14:30; 2 Cor. 4:4; 1 John 5:19.
35. (a) According to what prophetic title can Christ put Satan out of power? (b) Who on earth show themselves peace obstructors, and when and how must Christ put them out of the way?
35 It will take more than all men together to put that greatest obstructor of peace out of power over mankind. This the heavenly Jesus Christ will do, for, according to the several names by which he was to be called, he is “The mighty God.” This he will do after first doing away with the visible peace obstructors here on earth. (Rev. 19:11 to 20:3) This requires him to be first a Warrior King, reigning in the midst of his earthly enemies, finally subduing them completely, just as foretold by King David in Psalm 110:1-6. He has had to do this because, since the end of the “times of the Gentiles” in the year 1914, the nations and empires of this world have refused to yield over peaceably their earthly kingship to him, even Christendom refusing to do so. (Luke 21:24; Ps. 2:1-6) Till this year, after more than half a century, the nations have refused to do so. What will this mean shortly for all mankind? This: the outbreak of the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at the world situation called Har–Magedon or Armageddon. (Rev. 16:14, 16) That war will remove all human obstructors to peace.
36. After removal of these peace obstructors, what time period begins, and how did the American president in his inaugural speech remind us of it?
36 After this taking away of all human and demon obstructors of world peace there will come the reign of the Prince of Peace over all the earth. God’s fixed time for this is approaching, and along with it the peace of a thousand years. A thousand years equals a millennium. This reminds us of something said in the aforementioned inaugural speech of the American president on January 20, 1969. He remarked upon the approach of things of interest to Americans and to all Christendom. In the eighth paragraph of his speech the newly sworn-in president said: “Eight years from now America will celebrate its 200th anniversary as a nation. And within the lifetime of most people now living, mankind will celebrate that great new year which comes only once in a thousand years—the beginning of the third millennium.” The president was referring to A.D. 2001.a
37. In what millennium are God-fearing Bible students more interested, and from when does that millennium count?
37 The next remarks of the president showed that he expected there to be an America in the first year of that third millennium. But for God-fearing students of the Holy Bible containing both the ancient Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Greek Scriptures, there is a more important millennium that compels their attention. That is the seventh millennium! No, not the seventh millennium measured from A.D. 1, but the seventh millennium of man’s existence here on earth, the seventh millennium measured from God’s creation of perfect man and woman in the garden of Eden. This is usually measured according to the Anno Mundi rule or “In the Year of the World” calendar, the world of mankind being here meant.
38. (a) What does the Orthodox Jewish calendar reckon the time of the inauguration of the American president to be? (b) When, according to Ussher’s chronology, do six millenniums of man’s existence end?
38 Does this fact have any bearing on the approach of the peace of a thousand years or of a millennium? Very apparently Yes! According to the calendar of the Orthodox Jews, the new American president delivered his inaugural speech at the beginning of the fifth lunar month of the year 5729 A.M., this date being based on the ancient Hebrew Scriptures alone. But according to chronologers or time checkers who take into account also the inspired Christian Greek Scriptures, the Jewish calendar is more than two hundred years behind time. In certain editions of the Holy Bible, Catholic and Protestant, there have appeared dates according to the chronology of the noted Irish Anglican prelate, Archbishop James Ussher (1581-1656 C.E.). Ussher’s date for man’s creation is 4004 B.C.E. By this reckoning six thousand years or six millenniums of man’s existence would end in the autumn of the coming year of 1996 C.E. after which the seventh millennium of man’s existence would start.
39. According to more recent research into Bible chronology, when would the six millenniums end?
39 More recently earnest researchers of the Holy Bible have made a recheck of its chronology. According to their calculations the six millenniums of mankind’s life on earth would end in the mid-seventies. Thus the seventh millennium from man’s creation by Jehovah God would begin within less than ten years.b
40. In commemoration of his resting on the seventh creative day, what law concerning sabbath did God give to his chosen people?
40 Apart from the global change that present-day world conditions indicate is fast getting near, the arrival of the seventh millennium of man’s existence on earth suggests a gladsome change for war-stricken humankind. According to the first two chapters Ge 1-2 of the Holy Bible man and woman were created toward the close of the sixth creative day. We are now living in the seventh creative day, and on this seventh day Jehovah God has been resting from earthly creation. To run parallel with this resting of God on his seventh creative day, he gave the Ten Commandments to his prophet Moses, in the fourth one of which God commanded that his chosen people should rest on the seventh day of the week. (Ex. 20:8-11) That day was therefore the weekly sabbath day, the day of desistance from human toil.
41. (a) On a certain sabbath day, to what greater Sabbath did Jesus point forward? (b) According to God’s way of measuring time, to what does Christ’s millennium of rule correspond?
41 The Lord Jesus Christ, the prospective Prince of Peace, pointed forward to a greater Sabbath Day. Pointing forward to this, he said on a certain weekly sabbath day when he came under criticism: “Lord of the sabbath is what the Son of man is.” (Matt. 12:1-8) He was referring to his peaceful reign of a thousand years. Jehovah God measures human affairs according to a thousand-year-length rule. He inspired the prophet Moses to write, in Psalm 90:4: “A thousand years are in your eyes but as yesterday when it is past.” He also inspired the Christian apostle Peter to write: “One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” (2 Pet. 3:8, AV) In prophetic vision the apostle John saw Satan the Devil and his demons bound and abyssed for a thousand years, during which thousand years Jesus Christ reigned with his victorious disciples over all mankind. (Rev. 5:9, 10; 20:1-7) So, according to God’s viewpoint of time, that thousand years of his Son Jesus Christ would correspond with merely “one day.”
42. (a) In order for Jesus to be ‘Lord of the Sabbath’, his millenial reign would have to be in what time period? (b) Why would the end of six thousand years of man’s enslavement by Satan be a fitting time for a sabbath rest?
42 In order for the Lord Jesus Christ to be “Lord even of the sabbath day,” his thousand-year reign would have to be the seventh in a series of thousand-year periods or millenniums. (Matt. 12:8, AV) Thus it would be a sabbatic reign. Since early in the existence of mankind Satan the Devil has been on the loose, making the human family to toil in hard bondage, causing the earth to be filled with violence before the global flood of Noah’s day and inducing the same old earth to be filled with even greater violence today. Soon now six millenniums of his wicked exploiting of mankind as his slaves will end, within the lifetime of the generation that has witnessed world events since the close of the Gentile Times in 1914 till now, according to the prophetic words of Jesus in Matthew 24:34. Would not, then, the end of six millenniums of mankind’s laborious enslavement under Satan the Devil be the fitting time for Jehovah God to usher in a Sabbath millennium for all his human creatures? Yes, indeed! And his King Jesus Christ will be Lord of that Sabbath.
43. (a) What kind of day was the ancient weekly sabbath day as to activity? (b) During his sabbatic reign, will Christ or his subjects on earth be idle?
43 In ancient times, when God’s chosen people were under the Ten Commandments given through his prophet Moses, the weekly sabbath was a peaceful day. To agree with God’s own desistance from earthly work on his seventh creative day, his people were under divine command to desist from the hard work of the preceding six days, likewise their domestic animals. (Ex. 20:1-11) In like manner Christ’s sabbatic reign for a thousand years will be a peaceful time for this earth and its inhabitants. It will be a time of rest from all the warfare and violence of the previous six millenniums. Swords, symbolic of murderous warfare, will have been beaten into plowshares, and spears into pruning hooks for the grapevines. Life will not be dull in that restful millennial sabbath. It will not be a time of idleness. The Sabbath Lord, Jesus Christ the King, will not be idle, neither will he let his earthly subjects be idle.
44. (a) Why did Jesus on earth perform so many of his miraculous works on the weekly sabbath? (b) How does this agree with Paul’s statement in Hebrews 10:1?
44 Why was it that Jesus Christ, when on earth as a Jew under the Ten Commandments, did so many of his miraculous works on the weekly sabbath day, healing the sick and the crippled? Not only to show that it was right to do good on the sabbath. It was also to foreshadow how, during his sabbatic reign, he will deliver humankind from bondage to Satan the Devil and his demons and relieve them of the deadly effects of the sin and imperfection inherited from our first human parents, Adam and Eve. War and violence during the past six millenniums have brought millions of humans to untimely death and the grave; but the Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus Christ, will bring up the thousands of millions of dead humankind from the graves, exactly as he prophesied that he would do. (John 5:28, 29) It was no mere idle phrase when his truthful apostle Paul wrote that God’s sabbath law had a “shadow of the good things to come.”—Heb. 10:1; Col. 2:16, 17.
PLOWSHARES, PRUNING HOOKS FOR PARADISE
45. (a) How have Jehovah’s witnesses already conformed to Isaiah 2:4? (b) How will this feature of the prophecy continue to apply after Armageddon and Satan’s abyssing?
45 Already, even during this war-endangered time, Jehovah’s Christian witnesses have conformed to the prophecy of Isaiah 2:4 and beaten swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. After the universal war of Har–Magedon and the binding and abyssing of Satan and his demons, this prophecy will continue to apply. Why? In order that the human survivors of the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” may use their plowshares and pruning hooks in transforming this war-scarred earth into the glorious Paradise that Jehovah God told man originally to make it. (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:8-14) God’s word will not return to him void, unfulfilled. No, but under the thousand-year reign of his Son Jesus Christ this entire earth will be cultivated into an everlasting Paradise filled with liberated, perfected human creatures. Within that seventh sabbatic millennium the King and Lord of the sabbath day will undo all the work of that greatest of all peace disturbers, Satan the Devil.—Luke 23:43.
46. What did treatment of violators of the ancient sabbath law foreshadow with respect to attempted disturbers during and at the end of the sabbath millennium?
46 As under the operation of the Ten Commandments among God’s ancient chosen people all violators of the sabbath day were killed, so those not rendering obedience to the Lord of the coming sabbath millennium and disturbing the peace will be destroyed. (Num. 15:32-36; Ex. 31:13-17) After Satan the Devil and his demons are let loose from the abyss and once again try to disturb the peace of our earth, they will be destroyed, and with them all those who try again to make this earth a battlefield, a war arena. (Rev. 20:7-10, 15) Those who keep peace with God will remain in the Paradise earth as its eternal caretakers.
47. According to Psalm 72:7 with reference to the Greater Solomon, how long will the earthly peace last?
47 Then it will not be necessary to take a rocket to the moon to find a peaceful planet, for then the prayer in behalf of the Greater Solomon, Jesus Christ the King, will be fulfilled, as recorded in Psalm 72:7: “In his days the righteous one will sprout, and the abundance of peace until the moon is no more.” That peace will never end, any more than the moon. The earthly peace thus established and maintained during the Messiah’s sabbath of a thousand years will continue on forever.
48. Who are now getting ready for that peaceful millennium, and who are invited to join them in doing so?
48 Jehovah’s Christian witnesses of today are joyfully preparing for that approaching peace of a thousand years. All who yearn to enjoy that foretold “peace on earth for men whom [God] favours” are heartily invited to join them in getting ready for that blessed millennium of peace.
a Christendom measures time by the Anno Domini calendar, the Year of the Lord era, this starting with the year designated A.D. 1.
b See the book Aid to Bible Understanding, page 333, under “Chronology.” Also, the book Life Everlasting—in Freedom of the Sons of God, pages 26-35, under the subheading “Six Thousand Years of Human Existence Closing,” published in 1966.
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The timely and heartwarming message contained in this article was presented as a public discourse to audiences with a combined attendance of 840,572 in principal cities of North America and Europe during July and August of this year.
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