The Need to Know What We Worship
1, 2. (a) Who is opposed to our worshiping what we know, and what is he therefore designated? (b) What does the apostle Paul call that one, and what happens to those whose minds he blinds?
THIS loving God, whose will is for all sorts of men to be saved through the corresponding ransom of Christ Jesus, desires us to know him, that we may “worship what we know.” (1 Tim. 2:3-6; John 4:22) On the other hand, there is one that seeks to get us to worship false gods, that we may worship what we do not know, to our everlasting destruction.
2 Naturally this latter one is an opposer of the true God and deserves the name Resister or Satan. He worked up a resistance to the good news as preached by the apostle Paul, and concerning him Paul wrote: “If, now, the good news we declare is in fact veiled, it is veiled among those who are perishing, among whom the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through. . . . For God is he who said: ‘Let the light shine out of darkness,’ and he has shone on our hearts to illuminate them with the glorious knowledge of God by the face of Christ.” (2 Cor. 4:3-6) Those who let their minds be blinded by the “god of this system of things” will perish, worshiping what they know not.
3. (a) Amid worldwide danger, men today have seen the need to organize the world for what? (b) What two political blocs are active on the world scene, and how does Daniel, chapter eleven, picture them?
3 For millenniums now the “god of this system of things” has put before each generation of mankind false things to worship. In this twentieth century he has caused to be set up an object of worldwide worship. No one questions the fact that we are living in a time of world endangerment, when men feel more than ever the need for organizing all the nations for world peace and security. The first world war, of 1914-1918 C.E., alerted men of the World to the danger of mankind’s destroying itself by modern warfare. Two dominant political groups especially became manifest as a result of that war for world domination, namely, the democratic bloc of nations and the dictatorial, totalitarian bloc of nations. Two political ideologies were represented by them, and each bloc feared expansion by violent aggression on the part of the other. The prophecy of God’s Word, the Bible, pictured them under the symbol of two kings, the democratic, liberal bloc of nations as the “king of the south,” and the dictatorial, totalitarian bloc of nations as the “king of the north.” Daniel’s prophecy, Da chapter eleven, tells about these two “kings.”
4. (a) The movements of these two symbolic “kings” affect whom, and particularly at what time? (b) Against whom or what is each one of these “kings”?
4 The movements of these two symbolic “kings” against each other affect all mankind, and no nation or people escapes the effects. This is especially so in what Daniel’s prophecy calls “the time of the end.” (Dan. 11:27-40; 12:4) World history agrees with Bible prophecy that this critical “time of the end” began in the year 1914 C.E., when the “times of the Gentiles” as mentioned by Jesus Christ in his prophecy in Luke 21:20-24 (Authorized Version) came to their end. World War I, which began in that year, marked the beginning of “the end” for those Gentile nations. Those nations have since lined up in blocs behind either the “king of the north” or the “king of the south,” some few nations trying to keep neutral. Both of these “kings” are intent on world domination. But they are not just against each other. Unitedly they are against the Government that has the right to sovereignty over all the earth since the Gentile Times ended in 1914.
5. By whom was the good news of that government proclaimed, as foretold in Matthew 24:14, and since what marked event?
5 That government is the one that Jesus Christ prophesied would be proclaimed, especially since 1914, saying: “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. 24:14) Was it the dispersed natural Jews with their Zionist hopes of a homeland for the Jews in Palestine who took up preaching the good news of God’s Messianic kingdom? No, but the faithful disciples of Jesus Christ did so. These disciples, anointed with God’s spirit, were the ones who calculated from the Bible’s timetable that the Gentile Times were to end in early autumn of 1914 C.E. The visible proof that the Gentile Times ended at that time came before the notice of all the world from 1914 onward. For them this proof meant that God’s Messianic kingdom had been established in the heavens by the enthronement up there of the Messiah, Jesus.
6, 7. (a) The Kingdom was expected to establish itself in full control over earth when or after what? (b) What did The Watch Tower as of October 15, 1914, say about shortening the days of the great tribulation?
6 However, the Kingdom’s birth did not mean immediate destruction for all earthly nations. The Kingdom would first establish itself in full control over the wreck and ruin of all earthly institutions after the world’s worst time of trouble had run its course. So in the issue of The Watch Tower of October 15, 1914, more than two months after World War I had started, there was published the opening article “View from the Watch Tower.” Under the heading “Shortening of the Days of Trouble” it expressed the view that the world war was the opening phase of a world tribulation that would worsen until its most crucial stage, wrecking the unity of human society. That Watch Tower article said:
7 “That will be the time mentioned by our Savior, saying, ‘Unless those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved.’ (Matthew 24:22) The Master tells us, however, that those days of anarchy and general strife—‘every man’s hand against his brother, against his neighbor, and no peace to him that goeth out or to him that cometh in’—shall be shortened. The establishment of the church in glory, the bringing of the elect into control of the world, will shorten those days and inaugurate the reign of the Prince of Peace.”—Page 307.
8. (a) What interesting themes were discussed in the next succeeding issue of The Watch Tower? (b) How was much publicity as to the meaning of the times carried on back there in 1914?
8 In the following issue of The Watch Tower, that of November 1, 1914, came the leading article “Making Ready for the Reign of Righteousness.” It featured subheadings such as “A Counterfeit of Christ’s Kingdom,” “The End of the Gentile Times,” “Evidences of Our Lord’s Parousia [Presence],” “Inauguration of Messiah’s Kingdom Gradual,” “The Battle of Armageddon,” and “Re the Deliverance of the Church.” Much other publicity explained what the times meant, by the worldwide presentation of the Photo-Drama of Creation, and by public lectures and by spreading six volumes of Studies in the Scriptures, but also by distributing free tracts, such as the one featuring “End of the World in 1914.” Under the subheading “Many Tons of Free Literature,” the Annual Report for 1914 said: “The quantities have grown enormously. Many who cannot give all their time in the colporteur work, colporteurs also and pilgrims (indeed, all our readers), have found opportunities for engaging as volunteers in the Lord’s service in the distribution of reading matter, which we provide approximately in thirty languages.”—The Watch Tower, December 15, 1914, page 374.
TAKING AWAY THE CONSTANT SACRIFICE OF PRAISE
9. What was it that God’s “holy people” were offering to him, and what did the “king of the south” and the “king of the north” try to do?
9 Thus from the records it is manifest that the faithful disciples of Jesus Christ were then endeavoring to offer to Jehovah a continual sacrifice of praise, to “shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” (1 Pet. 2:9, Authorized Version) They had their hearts set on God’s heavenly kingdom by Christ and were advertising it as the rightful government of all mankind. But the democratic “king of the south” and the autocratic “king of the north,” both of whom were part of the counterfeit kingdom of Christ in Christendom, were battling for world domination. As a part of their war program, and with the full backing of the religious clergy of Christendom, they maneuvered their affairs to “scatter the power of the holy people,” to dash the “power of the holy people to pieces.” (Dan. 12:7; Authorized Version) By the end of three and a half years (three and a half symbolic “times”) they succeeded in doing this.
10. How was the work of the “holy people” hampered, and how were many taken away from this priestly work of offering sacrifice?
10 Up to that point of time they were greatly hampering the daily, continual, constant offering of the sacrifice of praise to Jehovah God by war restrictions and pressures. For instance, in Great Britain, those dedicated Christians who were “absolutists” in keeping strict neutrality and who refused to aid either side in the conflict were sentenced to years in prison. Strict Christian neutrals in North America were treated similarly. Many did not see Christian neutrality clearly and undertook noncombatant service, even in uniform. At times these were treated worse by the military forces than were the “absolutists.” They were also taken away from the priestly offering up of the sacrifices of praise to Jehovah God.
11. (a) The publication of what book was seized upon as a means to proceed against offerers of sacrifices of praise? (b) How was the power of the holy people finally dashed to pieces?
11 In July of 1917 the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society published the religious book The Finished Mystery. This was seized upon by the “king of the south” as something to use against the dedicated “holy people” of Jehovah God. This book and other printed literature that were used in offering “sacrifices of praise” were put under government ban or censorship and were withdrawn from circulation, much to the delight of the religious clergy of Christendom. Finally, in order to “scatter the power of the holy people” or to dash their unified power to pieces, the “king of the south” proceeded against certain officials and other servants of the Watch Tower Society who had had something to do with publishing The Finished Mystery. These were railroaded off to Federal Penitentiary under charges later proved to be false, and sentences of twenty years’ imprisonment. This reduced the “power of the holy people” in this “time of the end” to a very low point.
12. What did such action mean for God’s “holy people” in connection with the fulfillment of Daniel 12:11?
12 What did this signify in the fulfillment of Bible prophecies concerning the “time of the end”? It meant the taking away of the “constant” sacrifice or feature, or “daily sacrifice,” as offered by Jehovah’s holy people. This had been foretold, in Daniel 12:11 which speaks of “the time that the constant feature [the daily sacrifice, Authorized Version] has been removed and there has been a placing of the disgusting thing that is causing desolation.” It was during the spring of 1918 that the scattering or dashing to pieces was accomplished as regards the power of Jehovah’s “holy people” to offer the “constant feature” or “daily sacrifice.”
13. What did those who took away the “constant feature” or “daily sacrifice” present instead thereof, according to Daniel 12:11?
13 But what did those who did this scattering or dashing to pieces present as a substitute for the “daily sacrifice” or “constant feature” that Jehovah’s “holy people” had been continually offering up by preaching “this good news of the kingdom” as a praise to God? Something that did not bring praise to Jehovah God, but what his Word, at Daniel 12:11, calls “the disgusting thing [the abomination, Authorized Version] that is causing desolation.”
PUTTING IN PLACE THE DISGUSTING DESOLATOR
14. What was this “disgusting thing” or abomination, and when was it placed?
14 What was this disgusting, abominable thing, and when was it placed? This was a political measure that was adopted by the worldly nations instead of accepting God’s Messianic kingdom that had been set up in the heavens at the end of the Gentile Times in 1914 C.E. This was the League of Nations, the covenant of which was made part of the Versailles Peace Treaty, and was especially advocated by the “king of the south.” Thus when the Peace Treaty was ratified by the political powers that were involved, on October 13, 1919, the League of Nations went into effect. So this international organization, as instead of God’s Messianic kingdom, was set up to preserve the peace and security of all mankind. When Great Britain ratified the Peace Treaty, the Church of England ratified the anti-Kingdom League of Nations, for the then king of England was the head of that national Church.
15. (a) How did elements in the United States of America react toward the League of Nations? (b) Was that product of international action such a thing as described in Daniel 12:11?
15 The United States Senate refused to ratify the Peace Treaty because it contained the Covenant of the League of Nations, and later it concluded a separate peace treaty with Germany; however, the president of the United States strongly advocated the League of Nations and, back in December of 1918, the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America did, by special resolution, urge the American president to work at the Peace Conference for setting up the League of Nations, as being “the political expression of the Kingdom of God on earth.” Was the product of such international action disgusting, abominable to the God of the true Messianic kingdom? It could not be anything else but that!
16. (a) How was protest on the part of the disgusted God rendered to the nations? (b) In time, what was the League of Nations identified as being, according to Revelation 17:11?
16 Did this disgusted God make protest to the nations that undertook the League of Nations? Yes, through his “holy people” on earth. In the spring of 1919 he brought to an end the condition in which his “holy people” had their power scattered or dashed to pieces. After the Versailles Peace Treaty was signed on June 28, 1919, but before the League of Nations went into effect on October 13, 1919, God’s liberated, reunited “holy people” celebrated their first international convention at Cedar Point, Ohio, September 1-8, 1919. There in the public lecture of “Hope for Distressed Humanity” it was boldly declared that the League of Nations, despite having the blessing of the clergy of Christendom, would never have Jehovah’s blessing and would therefore fail. Shortly afterward the League was identified in the Watch Tower issue as of January 1, 1921, as being the “image of the wild beast” foretold in Revelation 13:14, 15, set up for worldwide worship. Furthermore, in 1926, in the public lecture in Royal Albert Hall of London, England, it was proclaimed that the League of Nations was the Eighth World Power foretold in Revelation 17:11.
17, 18. (a) Why did there need to be a reviving of the organization for world peace and security, and how did it occur? (b) What was attempted against the sacrificial work of Jehovah’s “holy people” and how was this foretold in Daniel 11:31?
17 In spite of being repeatedly put on notice by Jehovah’s “holy people,” the nations of Christendom continued to idolize that “image of the wild beast” until it went into the abyss of helpless ineffectiveness in World War II of 1939-1945. But Revelation 17:7, 8 foretold that the “image of the wild beast” was to come up out of the abyss of inactivity. It did, on October 24, 1945, when the needed number of political powers had ratified the Peace Treaty. This international organization for world peace and security was given the name United Nations. This was preceded by the worldwide persecution carried on against Jehovah’s “holy people” for the purpose of again removing their sacrifices of praise at God’s spiritual sanctuary, their constantly advertising God’s Messianic kingdom as the one and only hope of the world of mankind. This was an attempt to do again what the armed nations had done during World War I. Daniel 11:31 foretold this:
18 “And there will be arms that will stand up, proceeding from him; and they will actually profane the sanctuary, the fortress, and remove the constant feature. And they will certainly put in place the disgusting thing that is causing desolation.”
19. How are the nations thus worshiping what they do not know, and what is the object of worship for the “holy people”?
19 To this day the peoples and nations hold to this idolatrous “image of the wild beast,” 126 nations being members of the United Nations. Those nations are worshiping what they do not know, their own religious leaders misleading them. But the “holy people” of Jehovah God know what they are worshiping. They do not join the world in worshiping the political “image” of the Devil’s worldwide system of political government. They worship what they know, and that is Jehovah the only living and true God, who forbids image worship. They do not join those of Christendom who claim to be in the covenant for God’s kingdom and yet turn against it in favor of the League of Nations and its successor, the United Nations, “the disgusting thing that is causing desolation.”
20. What contrast does Daniel 11:32 draw between those acting wickedly and the people who know their God?
20 In view of this world situation the next verse (32) of Daniel, chapter 11:32, finds fulfillment: “And those who are acting wickedly against the covenant, he will lead into apostasy by means of smooth words. But as regards the people who are knowing their God, they will prevail and act effectively.”
EXPLOITS OF THE PEOPLE THAT KNOW THEIR GOD
21. How have Jehovah’s Christian witnesses ‘prevailed and acted effectively,’ holding fast to what course of worldwide activity?
21 In Jehovah’s Christian witnesses of today we can observe the divine reward to the “people who are knowing their God.” They are not ashamed to point out from the inspired Holy Bible that the true God’s name is Jehovah and that they are his dedicated, baptized witnesses just the same as Jesus Christ himself was. All these years, from 1919 till now, they have not let themselves be won over by the flattering, smooth words uttered by either “the king of the south” or “the king of the north” and thus turned into the way of apostasy against God’s Messianic kingdom. They have prevailed over smooth-worded flattery of political and religious propaganda and over the heavy pressure of brutal persecution. Valiantly they have unswervingly held fast to the course marked out for them by Jesus Christ, in Matthew 24:14: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations.” In defiance of the worldwide worshiping of the political “image of the wild beast” they persist in worshiping the Bible God, Jehovah, whom they know.
22. What prophecies of Daniel concerning enlightening and imparting understanding have the Christian witnesses of Jehovah fulfilled, and despite Satan’s use of what?
22 Have they dealt valiantly, have they taken action, have they done exploits, have they acted effectively? The answer to this question can be based upon the fulfillment of the prophecy of Daniel 11:33 toward them: “And as regards those having insight among the people, they will impart understanding to the many.” And to this are added the words of Daniel 12:3: “And the ones having insight will shine like the brightness of the expanse; and those who are bringing the many to righteousness, like the stars to time indefinite, even forever.” How necessary this work of enlightenment and of imparting understanding has been during this “time of the end”! How vital this work is Satan the Devil, “the god of this system of things,” well knows. Consequently he has brought the foretold persecution upon the “people who are knowing their God.” By it he tries to knock them out of their God-given work. (Dan. 11:33-35) He has used the worshipers of the idolatrous “image of the wild beast” in this persecution, but he has not prevailed. The anointed remnant of “people who are knowing their God” have been the ones that have prevailed, and this due to having insight.
23. The world’s religious condition will result in “great tribulation” upon whom, and for what purpose do the people need enlightenment and understanding?
23 Today religious conditions are deplorable throughout the earth. As to the Samaritans of Jesus’ day it can be said to them: “You worship what you do not know.” (John 4:22) Their worship of the political “image of the wild beast” and of other false gods will result in their being destroyed in the coming “great tribulation” upon Christendom, upon all the rest of Babylon the Great and upon all her political paramours in this mundane system of things. Such worldwide danger increases the nearer mankind gets to the outbreak of the “great tribulation,” out of which, unless the days of it were cut short, “no flesh would be saved.” (Matt. 24:21, 22) Men need to be enlightened with the truth of God’s Word, the Bible; they need to have understanding of it imparted to them, that they may truthfully know the only God to worship, Jehovah.
24. How extensively have Jehovah’s witnesses acted effectively in the work foretold in Daniel’s prophecy?
24 The anointed remnant of “people who are knowing their God” have lived up to the prophecy that foretold how they would “act effectively.” The record as published over the years proves this. Their work has not been without the effect promised in the infallible Word of God. They have imparted the all-necessary understanding to “the many” till now. This they have done by means of spreading the magazine The Watchtower now published in seventy-three languages, by the circulation from house to house of other Bible literature in 165 languages, yes, by the printing and distributing of a number of Bible versions of which they have the ownership in a number of languages. And not only by putting these Bibles and Bible study aids in the hands of the people, but by personally carrying on free studies in the Bible itself in the homes of the people who are dissatisfied at worshiping what they do not know.
25, 26. (a) In what way has their taking action been effective especially since 1935 C.E.? (b) Where does this “great crowd” of worshipers carry on their worship, and how?
25 Their taking this action has been effective under Jehovah’s blessing. Particularly since the year 1935 C.E. a “great crowd” of persons has been responding in all the nations, tribes, peoples and languages where this imparting of Bible understanding could be carried forward. They have given up worshiping what they do not know at various places considered sacred, religiously holy. They have been helped to worship the only God worthy of being worshiped. They do not go up to Mount Gerizim or to Jerusalem in Israel to worship him. They do not worship him mechanically or ceremonially, but in the real spirit of worship by faith and with the Bible truth they worship him, wherever they are.
26 They worship him at his true sanctuary, his spiritual temple not made with human hands, serving him day and night there in righteousness, pictured by white robes that have been washed in the blood of the Lamb Jesus Christ. In worship to the God whom they know, they cry out in unity: “Salvation we owe to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb.”—Rev. 7:9-15.
27. (a) What have these worshipers done with their knowledge, insight and understanding? (b) How long will they also act effectively?
27 These worshipers of what they know have not kept their knowledge, insight and understanding to themselves. In full dedication to God they have joined the anointed “holy people” who “are knowing their God,” and are imparting understanding to still others and spreading spiritual enlightenment to them. Persecution has not stopped them any more than it has stopped the anointed remnant since 1919 C.E. They also will prevail and continue to “act effectively” until the “great tribulation” comes shortly upon their persecutors and these are no more.
28. (a) How long with these worshipers take in knowledge that is vital? (b) In what will they boast, according to Jeremiah 9:24?
28 Thereafter this earth will be a clean place for all those who are “knowing their God” and who are worshiping him with spirit and truth. To endless time they will keep on taking in knowledge of the only true God, Jehovah, and of the one whom he sent, namely, Jesus Christ, for this taking in knowledge of these two means everlasting life in happiness to those who live in harmony with that knowledge. (John 17:3) Forever, in God’s approaching new order, they will do as he has advised, namely, boast in the “having of insight and the having of knowledge of me, that I am Jehovah, the One exercising loving-kindness, justice and righteousness in the earth; for in these things I do take delight.”—Jer. 9:24; 1 Cor. 1:31.