Will Christendom’s Violence Rebound upon Her?
WHEN Jesus Christ was on earth, did he in any way advocate violence? No. Even when he was betrayed by a traitorous associate and taken into custody by a mob, Christ reproved his apostle Peter for using a sword to protect his Master.
Furthermore, the same apostle later compared the treatment given Jesus to that accorded a mere slave. How did Jesus react to such treatment? Peter wrote: “When he [Christ] was being reviled, he did not go reviling in return. When he was suffering, he did not go threatening, but kept on committing himself to the one who judges righteously.”—1 Pet. 2:23.
But what has taken place in Christendom, which claims to follow the precepts of the Prince of Peace? From the butchery of the Crusades to the mass slaughters in World Wars I and II, Christendom’s own domain and some lands not of Christendom have flowed with blood. And grave responsibility for this violence rests upon Christendom.
Even now in Argentina clergymen at all levels in the Roman Catholic Church are being accused of inciting “plunder, robbery, assault, kidnapping, crime, bloody fighting, chaos.” In Brazil, Archbishop Helder Câmara has condoned violence by saying: “I respect those who in full conscience, choose revolutionary violence. . . . The Latin-American Church cannot condemn the use of force. The duty of the Church is to interfere.”
In the United States the churches have come under criticism as advocating violence, and the same is true in Bolivia, South Africa, Panama and many other places.
Why does violence exist in the very organization claiming to follow Christ? Because Christendom has proved hypocritical through and through. Therefore her actions have been the very opposite of her claims. Just as it was foretold concerning these “last days,” Christendom has had a “form of godliness,” a “form of godly devotion,” but she has all along been “denying the power thereof,” or “proving false to its power.”—2 Tim. 3:1-5, Authorized Version; New World Translation.
The God of the Bible and his Son Jesus Christ, whom Christendom claims to represent, hate hypocrisy. (Matt. 15:7, 8; Prov. 6:16-19) God said to his covenant nation Israel, which was guilty of hypocrisy, idolatry and violence:
“This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said to the soil of Israel, ‘An end, the end, has come upon the four extremities of the land. Now the end is upon you, and I must send my anger against you, and I will judge you according to your ways and bring upon you all your detestable things. And my eye will not feel sorry for you, neither will I feel compassion, for upon you I shall bring your own ways, and in the midst of you your own detestable things will come to be; and you people will have to know that I am Jehovah.”’—Ezek. 7:2-4.
WHAT CHRISTENDOM HAS SOWN IT MUST REAP
“Upon you I shall bring your own ways,” is the principle Jehovah here stated. The Judge of all the earth acts in faithfulness to his own laws and with regard for those who want to see righteousness and peace. He sees to it that the violence that a person practices comes back upon his own head. Accordingly, He will not be held back by sorrow and compassion from putting an end to Christendom with its detestable practices.
Jehovah will not change his law that, as a person, an organization or a nation sows, it must also reap. (Gal. 6:7) Therefore the consequences of Christendom’s unfaithful ways must be brought upon it, to make that religious system eat the fruitage of its own doings. (Prov. 1:30, 31) This principle Jehovah stated to his covenant people Israel by the mouth of the prophet Moses: “If you will not do this way, you will also certainly sin against Jehovah. In that case know that your sin will catch up with you [will find you out].”—Num. 32:23, NW; American Standard Version.
JEHOVAH HAS KINDLY GIVEN WARNING
Judging from the attitude that is now gaining ground among the political rulers and the people, when Christendom’s destruction comes it will be clearly seen that the detestable religious system is getting nothing but its just deserts and merits no pity. This was the case with hypocritical Jerusalem. The Babylonian destroyers of Jerusalem felt this way, as shown by what the chief of King Nebuchadnezzar’s bodyguard said to the prophet Jeremiah: “Jehovah your God himself spoke this calamity against this place, that Jehovah might bring it true and do just as he has spoken, because you people have sinned against Jehovah and have not obeyed his voice. And this thing has happened to you.”—Jer. 40:1-3.
Never can Christendom rightly scream out to Jehovah, “Calamity howler!” because he told Ezekiel to say, with her as well as the unfaithful house of Israel in mind:
“This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said, ‘A calamity, a unique calamity, look! it is coming. An end itself must come. The end must come; it must awaken for you. Look! It is coming. The garland must come to you, O inhabiter of the land, the time must come, the day is near. There is confusion, and not the shouting of the mountains. Now shortly I shall pour out my rage upon you, and I will bring my anger against you to its finish, and I will judge you according to your ways and bring upon you all your detestable things. Neither will my eye feel sorry nor shall I feel compassion. According to your ways shall I do the bringing upon you yourself, and your own detestable things will come to be right in the midst of you; and you people will have to know that I am Jehovah doing the smiting.”’—Ezek. 7:5-9.
Jehovah repeats himself in order to add emphasis to the warning, and at the same time he adds some enlightening details. He says that a “garland” is to encircle the head of the practicers of false religion. It will not be an ornament of the feasting idolaters, but a surrounding of the head with confusion, calamity. False religion is not able to unite the people in helping themselves, even against the common enemy that is to come against them. The shouting then will not be that of religious revelers, but that of wild confusion. It will be the noise foretold for this time by the prophet Isaiah:
“There is a sound of uproar out of the city [of Jerusalem then, and of Christendom], a sound out of the temple! It is the sound of Jehovah repaying what is deserved to his enemies.”—Isa. 66:6.
Stubborn, haughty ones who practice wrongdoing while thinking that God does not see or care must know that it is God who calls them to account. The apostle Paul spoke in his day of certain men who had “deviated from the truth, . . . and they [were] subverting the faith of some.” Then he said: “For all that, the solid foundation of God stays standing, having this seal: ‘Jehovah knows those who belong to him,’ and: ‘Let everyone naming the name of Jehovah renounce unrighteousness.”’—2 Tim. 2:18, 19.
So, those who hypocritically name themselves as Christians and then do not live accordingly must know that they cannot practice unrighteousness and get away with it. Jehovah God must let them know, as he said: “You people will have to know that I am Jehovah doing the smiting.”—Ezek. 7:9; compare 1 Timothy 1:20.
THE INSTRUMENT THROUGH WHICH VIOLENCE REBOUNDS
Thereafter, Jehovah, in revealing the developments to occur soon to Jerusalem also shows the means he will use to execute judgment upon her. And by considering the parallel today we can see the same developments in Christendom and can know what instrument Jehovah will use to desolate her. God said:
“Look! The day! Look! It is coming. The garland has gone forth. The rod has blossomed. Presumptuousness has sprouted. Violence itself has risen up into a rod of wickedness. It is not from them, nor is it from their wealth; and it is not from their own selves, nor is there any eminency in them.”—Ezek. 7:10, 11.
Why does Jehovah repeatedly call attention to the “day”? Because of the severity of the calamities coming upon all who hypocritically pose as servants of God, also because of the imminence of that “day.” For he says, “The rod has blossomed.” That is, the rod of punishment is at hand, available.
In Ezekiel’s day the “rod” was the Babylonian military power. Its presumptuousness had “sprouted.” It had exalted itself as the leading World Power and even presumed to take over the kingdom of God as represented by the royal line of King David in Jerusalem. In the present time the destructive “rod” is the political and secular elements of this system of things.—Compare Jeremiah 50:31, 32.
Particularly since 1914 C.E. the world has entered an age of violence. Violence has become so great, especially in Christendom, that it has “risen up into a rod of wickedness.” Violence brings on its own punishment as by a “rod” for its own wickedness. The religionists of Christendom have sown a violent “wind” and “a stormwind is what they will reap.” (Hos. 8:7) Thus God’s unchangeable principle is enforced: “Sinners are the ones whom calamity pursues, but the righteous are the ones whom good rewards.” (Prov. 13:21) There is no “eminency” found in such religionists in the eyes of God. There is nothing proceeding from their organizations, their wealth or their very own selves that excuses them from the punishment they deserve.
Jehovah proceeds to emphasize how bad and calamitous that day and its long-range effects would be on the hypocritical religionists, saying:
“The time must come, the day must arrive. As regards the buyer, let him not rejoice; and as regards the seller, let him not go into mourning, for there is hot feeling against all its crowd. For to what was sold the seller himself will not return, while their life is yet among the living ones; for the vision is for all its crowd. No one will return, and they will not possess themselves each one of his own life by his own error.”—Ezek. 7:12, 13.
To the Jews under the Law covenant this language was quite understandable. For the Law provided that a person selling his inheritance of land, if he was unable to buy it back, would receive it back free of cost in the Jubilee year, which occurred every fifty years. Jehovah’s language meant that the buyer of land could not rejoice in the expectation of reaping the crops from that land each year until the Jubilee. The foretold “day” would come and tear him away from the land before that time. On the other hand, the Israelite who was economically forced to sell his land had no basis for mourning because of having no control of his land until Jubilee. He would not remain to enjoy it, anyway. God’s anger was “hot” against “all its crowd,” buyers and sellers alike.
Even if some, after being taken away from the land, lived until the next Jubilee year, the provisions of that year would not be carried out. Why? Because Jehovah decreed that the land would lie desolate for longer than the Jubilee’s fifty-year cycle, namely, for seventy years, therefore well past the next Jubilee year. Furthermore, when the land would be occupied again, the Jubilee system would not be put back into operation. So the hereditary possessions would belong to neither the buyer nor the seller then. All, without distinction, would come under the calamity, and no committing of a planned scheme, no “error” of theirs against God or his law, would even enable them to “possess themselves each one of his own life.”
SUPPORT OF CHRISTENDOM ABANDONED
With Christendom professing to be in a covenant relationship with God, just as Israel was, we can apply to her the principles of God’s ways and dealings with Israel and reach only one conclusion for today: Any who hang onto Christendom will suffer loss in the coming calamitous day. In his next words to Ezekiel, Jehovah describes the situation of those supporting Christendom:
“They have blown the trumpet and there has been a preparing of everybody, but there is no one going to the battle, because my hot feeling is against all its crowd. The sword is outside, and the pestilence and the famine are inside. Whoever is in the field, by the sword he will die, and whoever are in the city, famine and pestilence themselves will devour them. And their escapees will certainly make their escape and become on the mountains like the doves of the valleys, all of which are moaning, each one in his own error. As for all the hands, they keep dropping down; and as for all knees, they keep dripping with water. And they have girded on sackcloth, and shuddering has covered them; and on all faces there is shame and on all their heads there is baldness.”—Ezek. 7:14-18.
Just as it was in the siege of Jerusalem, so when Christendom is besieged by her desolators, there will be great fear. Her members will be afraid to come to her defense. Even though the “trumpet” call is sounded, no defenders will appear. Christendom with her false religions will be in for annihilation. The refusal of support by her members will dishearten the religionists under attack. Their hands will drop from faintness; their knees will drip with perspiration. They will, as it were, shave their heads in mourning.
FORSAKE CHRISTENDOM BEFORE HER ‘SIEGE’ BEGINS
The religious leaders of Christendom have the Bible, which condemns their course of action and warns them. They are aware of the warnings, repeated often by Jehovah’s witnesses. Therefore to them the proverb applies: “A man repeatedly reproved but making his neck hard will suddenly be broken, and that without healing.” (Prov. 29:1) King David of Israel saw God’s judgments at work during his lifetime, and he prayed: “The man of violence—let evil itself hunt him with repeated thrusts.” (Ps. 140:11) Christendom’s violence is sure to rebound upon her with devastating effect.
Have you examined Christendom’s record? Do you believe in a God of justice? Then when you observe violence rising up in every part of Christendom you know that she is about to reap the whirlwind as a fruitage of the seed she has sown. If you are in any way affiliated with Christendom’s religious system, forsake her now!