Your Life Is in Danger—How? Why?
MOST persons recognize that their lives are in danger every day. Statistics show that the probability of death from accidents, crime, fire and other causes is steadily increasing.
Then there is the threat of nuclear war. This is so menacing that the responsibility for world peace has been placed in the hands of an international organization, the United Nations. However, the UN has been a disappointment as a peacemaker.
But a far more serious danger than these exists. What is that?
The danger to the spiritual interests of the people. For spiritual interests have to do with eternal life or eternal death. How? Because God is the Life-giver, and one’s prospects for everlasting life depend on one’s standing with God.—John 17:3.
The religious leaders, particularly in the so-called “Christian” nations, have stood in the position of caretakers of the people’s spiritual interests. They have claimed to lead these nations in the way of the God of the Bible. They have professed to be followers of God’s Son Jesus Christ. But have they actually directed these nations in the worship of God?
Consider their record during World War I. The clergy of Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox denominations preached their flocks into killing one another in that conflict. Nationalism took precedence over worship of God.
But did the clergy repent, turn around from their course and point the people to God’s kingdom as the hope for mankind? Did they support the Bible and its principles? No. Their course since, including during World War II, shows they did not.
Consequently, anyone who hopes to experience deliverance into God’s new order must have better spiritual guidance than what the clergy give.
GOD CONCERNED OVER YOUR LIFE
Jehovah God, the Supreme Spirit Being, is not going to let the failure of these false religious leaders cause honest-hearted persons to lose out on deliverance and life in his new order. Jehovah is the Shepherd and Overseer of his people. (1 Pet. 2:25; Ps. 23:1) Accordingly, he raised up as his “servant” a body of persons who were faithful, reliable and not rebellious. This group was confronted with a difficult assignment to carry out, because it required their proclamation of a strong denunciatory message against Christendom. Why? It was essential that right-hearted persons be warned so as to see clearly their danger. These persons must forsake all association and affiliation with false religion. They must take a firm stand for the truth of God’s Word and position themselves on the side of his Messianic kingdom in order to be delivered.
The group to be used by God was prefigured by Ezekiel, an Israelite priest. The year 613 B.C.E. was a late time in the forty-year “time of the end,” for Jerusalem. Jerusalem had only six years left before that city and the land of Judah would be completely desolated. Jerusalem’s religious leaders as well as those Jewish leaders then in exile with Ezekiel over in Babylon had failed the people and were responsible for their plight.
Likewise, this present system of things is well along in its “time of the end”a with the spiritual condition of Christendom in a bad plight indeed. Therefore we observe with keen interest what Ezekiel was commanded to do and what this foreshadowed for our day.
AN ASSIGNMENT TO PREACH
In vision, Ezekiel beheld a great celestial chariot coming out of the north, to roll up before him. From atop this chariot, which was accompanied by cherubs, and was symbolic of a great heavenly organization, Jehovah God spoke to Ezekiel, commissioning him. Then Ezekiel was handed a scroll, with the command: “Eat this roll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.”—Ezek. 3:1.
The scroll had “dirges and moaning and wailing” written on both sides. (Ezek. 2:10) It was a full message because of the fullness of the measure of Israel’s sins. Was Ezekiel willing to eat it and to proclaim the sad message, as an example for the modern “Ezekiel”?
Ezekiel did as commanded. He gradually ate the roll. (Ezek. 3:2, 3) Surprisingly, the gloom-laden roll was sweet as honey in Ezekiel’s mouth. This was because it was a good, wholesome, sweet experience for Ezekiel to be assigned a special work at the hand of the Most High God. The apostle John, seven hundred years later, had a like experience. John, then exiled on the Isle of Patmos in the Aegean Sea for his faithful preaching of the word of God, writes of his vision:
“And the voice that I heard out of heaven is speaking again with me and saying: ‘Go, take the opened scroll that is in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the earth.’ And I went away to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me: ‘Take it and eat it up, and it will make your belly bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.’ And I took the little scroll out of the hand of the angel and ate it up, and in my mouth it was sweet as honey; but when I had eaten it up, my belly was made bitter.”—Rev. 10:8-10.
John’s experience was not merely a fulfillment of Ezekiel’s experience, for that would have been meaningless repetition. Rather, it showed that Ezekiel’s vision was prophetic and that he represented the same thing as John, who, as a spirit-begotten disciple of Jesus Christ, probably the last surviving apostle, pictured the remaining ones on earth today of the spirit-begotten, anointed brothers of Jesus Christ.
The visionary scroll that Ezekiel ate did not picture the prophetic book of Ezekiel, for Ezekiel’s book is not all dirges, moaning and wailing. It also contains prophecies of blessing for God’s people. The roll pictures Jehovah’s denunciatory message against Jerusalem and Judah, concluding with the declaration against their Gentile enemies, completed at Ezekiel 35:15.
Similarly, the anointed remnant received the “roll of a book,” symbolically, at the time for the beginning of their great worldwide proclamation of the Kingdom message in 1919. This scroll likewise did not picture the book of Ezekiel. Rather, the scroll represented all the declarations in the entire Bible that have to do with the judgments, spiritual plagues and tribulations that are to come upon Christendom and her religious and political associates in the “time of the end.” As the servants of God saw and accepted their commission it was an assignment that tasted sweet to them.
A “LANGUAGE” PROFESSORS OF CHRISTIANITY CANNOT FAIL TO UNDERSTAND
Since it is the lives of the flocks of Christendom’s churches that are in such imminent danger, the Ezekiel-like anointed ones on earth logically would be sent primarily to them. God told Ezekiel:
“Son of man, go, enter in among the house of Israel, and you must speak with my words to them. For it is not to a people who are unintelligible in language or heavy of tongue that you are being sent—to the house of Israel, not to numerous peoples unintelligible in language or heavy in tongue, whose words you cannot hear understandingly. If it was to them that I had sent you, those very ones would listen to you. But as for the house of Israel, they will not want to listen to you, for they are not wanting to listen to me; because all those of the house of Israel are hardheaded and hardhearted. Look! I have made your face exactly as hard as their faces and your forehead exactly as hard as their foreheads. Like a diamond, harder than flint, I have made your forehead. You must not be afraid of them, and you must not be struck with terror at their faces, for they are a rebellious house.”—Ezek. 3:4-9.
Ezekiel did not have to learn a new language. He was sent to his own people. God has always warned those professing to serve him, and he has made the warning very plain, in terminology with which they were familiar. So to the Jews he sent a spokesman who used their language.
It was like that when Jesus Christ was on earth. He said that he was sent specifically to Israel. (Matt. 15:24) He spoke to the Jews in the current language that they used every day. Also they had the Scriptures, to which Jesus continually referred, and which bore testimony to him. (John 5:39) They knew what he was talking about when he referred to their history, their customs, when he used their religious terms and expressions. He said to those Jews:
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! because if the powerful works had taken place in Tyre and Sidon that took place in you, they would long ago have repented in sackcloth and ashes. Consequently I say to you, It will be more endurable for Tyre and Sidon on Judgment Day than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you perhaps be exalted to heaven? Down to Hades you will come; because if the powerful works that took place in you had taken place in Sodom, it would have remained until this very day. Consequently I say to you people, It will be more endurable for the land of Sodom on Judgment Day than for you.” “Men of Nineveh will rise up in the judgment with this generation and will condemn it; because they repented at what Jonah preached, but, look! something more than Jonah is here.”—Matt. 11:21-24; 12:41.
Likewise, the anointed Kingdom proclaimers, pictured by Ezekiel, are sent to ‘their own’ people, people who speak the same general Biblical language and who, like them, profess to be Christian. When Jehovah’s witnesses speak to the people in the “Christian” lands about the Bible, the people know what is meant. They are familiar with Bible expressions and terminology, so that they are on common ground. There is no excuse for them not to understand what the modern “Ezekiel” says. If they do not respond with hearing ears it is because they do not want to.
A MESSAGE OF LOVE
Just as only a few among the Jewish nation believed Jesus, so only a small percentage in Christendom accept the message of Jehovah’s witnesses. Christendom in general has proved to be a rebellious house, not seeing the danger hanging over it. But hardheaded and hardhearted as Christendom is, Jehovah has strengthened his servants so that they have no fear in proclaiming God’s message to them. He has made his servants’ foreheads of superior hardness, like a diamond. They are not paralyzed by fear of men. (Prov. 29:25) However, the persistence of Jehovah’s witnesses in preaching under all circumstances is sometimes misunderstood as fanaticism. Actually it is love and the spirit of God that impels them, for Jehovah the loving God knows the dire danger people are facing and he wants to deliver everyone whose heart can be reached with the good news.—Ezek. 33:11.
God further spoke to Ezekiel: “Son of man, all my words that I shall speak to you, take into your heart and hear with your own ears. And go, enter in among the exiled people, among the sons of your people, and you must speak to them and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said,’ regardless of whether they hear or they refrain.”—Ezek. 3:10, 11.
FLEE FROM SPIRITUAL CAPTIVITY
The Jews among whom Ezekiel preached were in exile in Babylon. Similarly, the people in “Christian” lands today are not practicing the truth that sets one free from enslavement to sin. Moreover, they are in a spiritual captivity to Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion. They are actually in “exile” from God and his true worship. (John 8:31, 32, 34) Their practices are foreign to the pure principles of the Bible. The so-called “new morality,” for example, denies the Bible’s standards and denies God’s right to set the standards humans should follow.—Gal. 5:19-21.
So, action is necessary on the part of the modern-day Ezekiel. This was foreshadowed by what next occurred in Ezekiel’s case. He relates:
“And a spirit proceeded to bear me along and I began to hear behind me the sound of a great rushing: ‘Blessed be the glory of Jehovah from his place.’ And there was the sound of the wings of the living creatures that were closely touching each other, and the sound of the wheels close beside them, and the sound of a great rushing. And the spirit bore me along and proceeded to take me, . . . and the hand of Jehovah upon me was strong. So I entered in among the exiled people at Tel-abib, who were dwelling by the river Chebar, and I began to dwell where they were dwelling; and I kept dwelling there for seven days, stunned in the midst of them.”—Ezek. 3:12-15.
What was “his place” from which Jehovah’s glory was to be blessed? Not the temple in Jerusalem, which was called his place, for it had been defiled, polluted by the idolatrous and rebellious acts of the Jews. Jehovah’s “place” was with his commissioned prophet Ezekiel. Today Jehovah’s glory is not blessed in Christendom, which nominally claims to be the place that declares his glory. It is with his faithful Ezekiel-like anointed ones who actually declare his name and the glory of his kingdom as his instrument for delivering mankind into his new order.
Do you discern that your spiritual interests are in danger, and, therefore, your life is also? Are you concerned? Then follow God’s command to honest-hearted ones who are in the religious systems of Babylon the Great: “Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues. For her sins have massed together clear up to heaven, and God has called her acts of injustice to mind.”—Rev. 18:4, 5.
Doing this first, then become one who declares God’s glory to others and have his favor and deliverance. Be among those of whom He says: “They are before the throne of God; and they are rendering him sacred service day and night in his temple; and the One seated on the throne will spread his tent over them. They will hunger no more nor thirst anymore, neither will the sun [of divine displeasure] beat down upon them nor any scorching heat [of God’s chastisement], because the Lamb, who is in the midst of the throne, will shepherd them, and will guide them to fountains of waters of life. And God will wipe out every tear from their eyes.”—Rev. 7:15-17.
a See the book “Babylon the Great Has Fallen!” God’s Kingdom Rules!, pages 174-181. Published by Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Brooklyn, New York.