Is International Unity Possible?
UNITY among the nations is much to be desired today. The advent of nuclear weapons makes it more than desirable. In fact, scientists and statesmen urge stronger efforts toward unity for fear that otherwise civilization as we know it will vanish from the earth.
Does the problem exist because the world is not advanced sufficiently to take care of its needs in a technical or industrial way? No. Present scientific and technical know-how could care for the growing and distribution of food to feed everyone. Homes, clothing and all other needs could be provided, particularly if all efforts and resources now expended in war and military pursuits were turned to constructive uses.
Then, what is the problem that has made world unity a “will-o’-the-wisp,” always talked about but never realized? Is it not people—their attitude toward one another? Rivalry between nations exists. But more seriously, right on down from there to the neighborhood level, we find hatreds between races and nationalities, and, so often, just plain dislike for the other fellow. People irritate one another. The “generation gap” and other factors even disunite families.
So, no world peace and unity can come until there is a change in the attitude of people. No matter what peace pacts or laws the nations make, no lasting unity will come until the people themselves come to love one another, each working for the other’s best interests. It is largely a matter of education, putting in people’s minds and hearts a real reason for unity.
Men have not been able to provide this basis, in spite of political promises and programs. Nonetheless, international unity will be brought about. It will be done by the only one who can reach the hearts of people and change attitudes and personalities. This one is the Creator. But he does not change attitudes arbitrarily. Rather, he has the educational program that moves people to change, because he knows what they need. He is supervising the program.
WHERE REAL UNITY DOES EXIST TODAY
Does this sound farfetched? If you could see such unity in practice among a large number of people, would you believe they had the solution? This group does exist. It is the international society known as Jehovah’s witnesses.
Do these people actually have unity among themselves in all phases of life and activity? That they do have it is evident to all who have observed their large assemblies in operation, or who have attended their Christian meetings in local Kingdom Halls. Where do they get it? From studying and following God’s Word the Bible. It is not because of their own “goodness,” because they have greatly varied personalities and they were like any other people before coming to a knowledge of God’s truth and purposes.—Col. 3:5-8.
It is God’s purpose to have complete unity among people on this earth. He has gathered together those who have listened to his Word, and who really want to serve him, and has given them his spirit, a spirit of truth, unity and freedom. (John 16:13; Eph. 4:2, 3; 2 Cor. 3:17) Long ago he did this temporarily for one nation of people, as a pattern of what he is now doing and will accomplish completely.
HOW GOD WILL BRING UNITY
This example of unification Jehovah made when he brought together two nations that had been bitter rivals for four centuries. These were originally one nation, the descendants of the twelve sons of one man, but they had come to hate and make war with one another. The Bible proverb was true in their case: “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city; and such contentions are like the bars of a castle.” (Prov. 18:19, American Standard Version) Ten of the tribes had rebelled and broken away during the rule of King Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, forming a northern kingdom, sometimes called, according to the leading tribe, “Ephraim” (one of the sons of Joseph, son of Jacob). The southern two-tribe kingdom was called “Judah.” Since Ephraim’s captivity by the Assyrians and Judah’s exile to Babylon, all twelve tribes were widely scattered. It seemed that, not only in a spiritual sense, but in a geographical sense also, unity was to them an impossibility.
But with God nothing is impossible. (Matt. 19:26) While they were yet in exile down in Babylon, Jehovah raised up his prophet Ezekiel. To help them and to make the prophetic pattern for unity in our time, God told Ezekiel this:
“As for you, O son of man, take for yourself a stick and write upon it, ‘For Judah and for the sons of Israel his partners.’ And take another stick and write upon it, ‘For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and all the house of Israel his partners.’ And cause them to approach each other into one stick for yourself, and they will actually become just one in your hand.”—Ezek. 37:15-17.
This symbol of unity performed by Ezekiel, whether he merely held the two sticks together in his hand or whether they were miraculously merged, would certainly get the Jews’ immediate attention. With anticipation of this Jehovah said:
“When the sons of your people begin to say to you, ‘Will you not tell us what these things mean to you?’ speak to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said: “Here I am taking the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his partners, and I will put them upon it, that is, the stick of Judah, and I shall actually make them one stick, and they must become one in my hand.”’ And the sticks upon which you write must prove to be in your hand before their eyes.”—Ezek. 37:18-20.
THE “ONE KING” WHO BRINGS UNITY
What did Jehovah have in mind by this? Something that was really a miracle to be worked, bringing them together as one nation, with great benefit in mind for them. At the same time God laid a foundation for our assurance of everlasting unity in our time, the time for the full carrying out of his purpose. He explained:
“Here I am taking the sons of Israel from among the nations to which they have gone, and I will collect them together from round about and bring them onto their soil. And I shall actually make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel, and one king is what all of them will come to have as king, and they will no longer continue to be two nations, nor will they be divided any longer into two kingdoms.”—Ezek. 37:21, 22.
The marvelous unity would not merely be a ‘peaceful coexistence,’ with these religiously and politically divided people tolerating one another. It would be real, from the heart, for Jehovah continues:
“And they will no longer defile themselves with their dungy idols and with their disgusting things and with all their transgressions; and I shall certainly save them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and I will cleanse them, and they must become my people, and I myself shall become their God.”—Ezek. 37:23.
God brought unity back there when he repatriated these captive people to Jerusalem to restore true worship. They came from all nations, people from all the tribes. Even centuries later, when Jesus was born, we find representatives of the twelve tribes in Palestine. (Acts 26:7) But the real, permanent unity under the “one king” was yet to come.
But when was the time to come when international unity would be achieved? It began in a small way after Jesus was anointed with holy spirit to be king. (Acts 10:38) He prayed to God with regard to those who would become his spiritual brothers out of the twelve tribes of Israel and, further, out of the Gentile nations: “I make request, not concerning these only, but also concerning those putting faith in me through their word; in order that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in union with me and I am in union with you, that they also may be in union with us.”—John 17:20, 21.
Now we are in the time when unity is essential, and not only for ‘spiritual Israel.’ (Gal. 6:16) This world, to survive, would have to achieve real unity, but it cannot. Neither the divided sects of Christendom’s religions, nor politics nor science has the formula. However, Christ’s followers do, not from their own wisdom, but from God’s Word. Jehovah’s witnesses have been preaching Christ the ‘one king’s’ presence in Kingdom power for nearly sixty years now. They have proclaimed the need for all to come under the service and favor of the “one king” whom God has appointed, as the psalmist wrote: “And now, O kings, exercise insight; let yourselves be corrected, O judges of the earth. Serve Jehovah with fear . . . Kiss the son, that He may not become incensed and you may not perish from the way.”—Ps. 2:10-12.
All people have opportunity to come into unity under “one king” if they so desire. Since 1935 C.E. a “great crowd” of people have overcome racial, national, tribal and language barriers and distinctions. These hope to survive the destruction of the disunited world. These, having the unity essential for an internationally united human race, constitute an example and an evidence that such a human race is possible. Yes. It is more than possible. It is sure, because God purposes it.
Right now there is a spiritual ‘paradise,’ a “garden of Eden” among those serving Jehovah God, though the literal paradise with full health and a beautified earth are yet to come. Jesus Christ is the “fine shepherd” who is bringing all of them together as “one flock.” (John 10:11, 16) He is ruling as the Greater David, the heir of the everlasting Kingdom covenant. Jehovah showed why there is such peace, in his prophetic words to Ezekiel:
“And my servant David will be king over them, and one shepherd is what they will all come to have; and in my judicial decisions they will walk, and my statutes they will keep, and they will certainly carry them out. And they will actually dwell upon the land that I gave to my servant, to Jacob, in which your forefathers dwelt, and they will actually dwell upon it, they and their sons and their sons’ sons to time indefinite, and David my servant will be their chieftain to time indefinite.”—Ezek. 37:24, 25.
Jehovah has given as a “covenant” or solemn promissory guarantee the King Jesus Christ, who showed true concern for humankind when he was on earth, even sacrificing his life. (Isa. 42:6) This assures peace for those who obey him. The unity with the Creator that the rulership of this King brings is described by God:
“And I will conclude with them a covenant of peace; an indefinitely lasting covenant is what there will come to be with them. And I will place them and multiply them and place my sanctuary in the midst of them to time indefinite. And my tabernacle will actually prove to be over them, and I shall certainly become their God, and they themselves will become my people. And the nations will have to know that I, Jehovah, am sanctifying Israel when my sanctuary comes to be in the midst of them to time indefinite.”—Ezek. 37:26-28.
Jehovah’s pure Christian worship, his sanctuary, is among those who adhere to his written Word, the Bible. His tabernacle of divine protection and family relationship is over them. They are working hard to make over their personalities by developing the fruits of his spirit, love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness and self-control. (Gal. 5:22, 23) This is bringing them unity. It is possible for all persons today to join with them and to look forward to everlasting life in unity with God and their fellowmen.