Divine Victory—Its Meaning for Distressed Humanity
“Victory and power and empire for ever have been won by our God, and authority for his Christ, now that the persecutor, who accused our brothers day and night before our God, has been brought down.”—Rev. 12:10, “The Jerusalem Bible.”
1. What is meant by the expression “divine victory”?
DIVINE VICTORY! By that expression we mean a victory by a divine person. We do not mean the winged goddess Niʹke (Victory) of ancient Grecian mythology, whose name was attached to the surface-to-air missile of the American armed forces, namely, the Niʹke-Hercules missile. No, but we mean victory by God the Creator of heaven and earth, the Creator of humanity on earth. His is the victory that can have good meaning for humanity in its sore distress of today.
2. With what has the word “victory” had a considerable association?
2 Throughout human history the word “victory” has had a considerable association with war, or, at least, with a contest, a controversy, or with unfavorable conditions that have to be overcome. Certainly, the present distress and anguish of all the nations of earth is an unfavorable condition that needs to be overcome for humanity’s everlasting good.
3. In view of the meaning attached to “divine victory,” what questions do we ask about God, and what does it behoove us to do?
3 Well, then, from the expression “divine victory” are we to draw the conclusion that the God of all creation is about to involve himself with a war, with a contest, with a controversy? Will such a conflict, if it is purposed by God, have some connection with mankind? Will it affect all humanity—for good to us in our distress? If the answer is Yes! to these questions, then reason dictates that we ought to interest ourselves in such a war. Yes, we ought to know on which side in this war it behooves us to put ourselves, inasmuch as we really desire the divine victory.
4. Why do the international distress and anguish of today call for us to get the right meaning of “divine victory”?
4 Different peoples have differing views about the one who is called “God.” The antireligious Communists have their view of God. The so-called Christian world, Christendom, has its view about God. The Mohammedan world has its view of its Allah. The Jewish world has its particular view. The other non-Christian parts of mankind have many kinds of religion and have their own respective view of God. Hence, each religious group, or nonreligious group, may have its own idea of what a “divine victory” in the future would mean for humanity. Logically, there would be no agreement between all these views as to what “divine victory” means. It would not be strange, therefore, that the approaching real divine victory will be different from what all of them would expect it to be. Unquestionably, the international distress and anguish of today call for us to get a right understanding of the matter.
5. To what authority do we have to go for information respecting this war, and with what theme does that authority close its record?
5 It is evident that we have to go to an Authority concerning the war that will be crowned with divine victory. That Authority is a book that has been spread all around the earth by the thousands of millions of copies in hundreds of important languages of mankind. This book is the Holy Bible. It is the only book in the world that tells about this universal war in which God, the One Creator of heaven and earth, will vindicate himself with decisive victory. So to the sacred scriptures of the Holy Bible we must turn for authoritative information upon this vital subject. By the Bible we mean, not just the “twenty-four books of the Holy Scriptures” to which the Hebrews or Jews restrict themselves, but the whole Bible that contains not only those Hebrew Holy Scriptures but also the inspired Christian Scriptures. The last book in that complete Bible was written nineteen centuries ago by the Christian apostle John and is called Revelation. Quite appropriately, it closes this inspired Bible of God with the theme of divine victory.
6. What are the mixed feelings as to whether Christendom stands to gain from such a divine victory?
6 It is true that the Bible societies of Christendom have done much to give the Holy Bible a worldwide circulation, and Christendom herself claims to hold to the Bible. In view of this, is Christendom the one that stands to gain by the coming divine victory? Is the coming war foretold in the Bible to be fought for the sake of Christendom and for her preservation? The religious people of Christendom would like to think so. Atheistic Communism and the non-Christian world do not like to think so, and they have good reason for not liking such a thing.
7. How do Christendom and Communist lands compare as to population, and why does Christendom think that she could win out in a war?
7 When matters are viewed from the religious standpoint, the situation outwardly seems to favor Christendom. Her church people and clergymen think that Christendom has no controversy with the God of the Holy Bible. But as regards the radical Communists, they are at open war with God, not alone the God of the Bible but a god of any kind of religion. The Communist lands of Europe once claimed to be Christian, yet now they disown Christendom and consider themselves no part of her. Nonetheless, they are pleased to make use of the religious organizations that they permit to function in their lands, for political purposes and for war help. As far as numbers are concerned, the forces of anti-God Communism in Europe, Asia and Africa appear to outnumber the forces of religious Christendom. According to the latest estimate Christendom boasts herself of having a church membership of 985,363,400. However, taking it for granted that God is on her side, Christendom thinks that she could win out over all anti-God forces.
8. How did the nations of Christendom throw a burden upon God in times of war, and what determined the gaining of the victory?
8 It is not strange for religious nations to tie in their god or gods with their national wars. This has been true from the most ancient times, even before Christendom was established in the fourth century of our Common Era. The ancient Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Medes and Persians, Grecians, and Romans all had their gods upon whom they called for victory in their wars of conquest. Even the informed Communists know that. Curiously, though, in the case of Christendom, her nations have fought among themselves, and, while at war, those nations prayed to the same God. Catholics fought against Catholics. Catholics fought against Protestants. Protestants fought against Protestants. Thus they threw the burden upon God to decide which side of Christendom he would favor with victory, and the prayers of which nations he would answer favorably. It was that way with World War I, which started in Christendom, and it was that way with World War II, which likewise started in Christendom. Under the circumstances, in all those wars of Christendom, was it God’s decision that determined the winning side, or was it military equipment and fighting skill?
9. Why would Christendom’s victory, if granted by God, lead to no lasting relief for distressed humanity?
9 However, will God’s hand be forced by a nuclear war between religious Christendom and international godless Communism, so that God has to come out in favor of the religious side against the antireligious side? As we all know, preparations have been under way for decades for the “ultimate war” between the capitalistic democratic bloc of nations and the atheistic Communist bloc of nations. Could the one living and true God be counted on to come to the aid of Christendom? Victory for Christendom would mean the further preservation of her. But, to judge from Christendom’s history till now, is she worth preserving? It is frankly admitted by the clergymen of Christendom that her hypocrisy and failure to live up to what true Christianity is have led to the rise of international Communism to world power. So, what reason is there to believe that the preservation of Christendom would not, in course of time, lead to an upsurge of godless Communism once again and thus finally to another confrontation of both sides all over again? So, a victory by Christendom offers no guarantee of relief for distressed humanity.
Letting God’s Written Word Speak for Him
10. How do we learn whether God is on either side, or neither, and, accordingly, what is the answer?
10 So now the question forces itself upon us, Would God be for either side in such a military confrontation between religious Christendom and antireligious Communism? Has he even been on either side in the “cold war” that has been going on for years between the two blocs of nations? The only way for us as impartial persons to get the satisfying, correct answer is to let God speak for himself. This He does, through the pages of his inspired prophetic Word, the Holy Bible. His answer is plain and unmistakable. He favors neither bloc of nations. Both are against Him.
11, 12. According to what divine rule is there no mistake about classifying Christendom as an enemy of God?
11 It stands to reason that God would not fight for his enemies. Yes, but is Christendom the enemy of God? Why, look at her hundreds of thousands of churches. Look at the thousand or more religious sects of which she is composed. Look at her hundreds of thousands of clergymen that serve in her churches and offer solemn prayers to God in the name of Jesus Christ. Surely, then, there must be some mistake in classifying Christendom among God’s enemies. But there is no mistake in this. God is not only against those who are outspokenly his enemies but also against those who are friends of His enemies. When an ancient king of Jerusalem came back from lending military help to a wicked king, God said to him: “Is it to the wicked that help is to be given, and is it for those hating Jehovah that you should have love? And for this there is indignation against you from the person of Jehovah.” (2 Chron. 19:1, 2) And much later on, by means of the Christian disciple James, this same God said:
12 “Do you not know that the friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever, therefore, wants to be a friend of the world is constituting himself an enemy of God.”—Jas. 4:4.
13. Why does Christendom’s being in the “cold war” against Communism not disprove that she is a friend of the world?
13 Who can deny that Christendom is a thick friend of this world? The “cold war,” the hostility, between the nations of Christendom and the Communist bloc does not disprove that Christendom is a close friend of the whole world. The difficulties between the nations of Christendom and the Communist bloc are not due to the issue of religion. Politics is the issue. Two widely differing political ideologies are involved. The leading nations of Christendom had Communist Russia as their ally during World War II. And now, in the United Nations organization of 132 member nations, practically all the nations of Christendom are members side by side with Communist Russia, with Communist Red China, and with other Communist nations. In fact, at least half of the United Nations members are not so-called Christian nations. The nations of Christendom maintain diplomatic relations with the governments of this world. They regularly do commercial business with those nations according to treaties. They have cultural exchanges. Vatican City, presided over by the head of the biggest religious organization in the world, exchanges diplomatic representatives with as many countries of the world as it can.
14. (a) Would James say that Christendom, by her course, has constituted herself a friend of the world? (b) What is God’s attitude, and what is to be expected of Him when Christendom comes under final attack?
14 The nations of Christendom try to maintain friendly relations with the nations outside Christendom. They involve themselves with the politics of this world. And when they imitate the worldly nations in taking up death-dealing weapons to settle their differences, the churches of Christendom are right behind their respective political governments, with their clergymen trying to get God into international conflicts by calling upon Him in prayer. Would the Christian disciple James call all this an expression of “friendship with the world” on the part of Christendom? Would he say that Christendom, as such a friend of the world, “is constituting [herself] an enemy of God”? Yes! There would be no other correct answer to give. Despite all her religiousness, Christendom stands convicted as a most reprehensible enemy of God. She, along with godless Communism and other world elements, is against him. So He is against her. He is not with her. God cannot be expected to rise up in behalf of Christendom when the radical forces of the world unite in a world attack upon religion before they themselves engage in the war of Har–Magedon. (Rev. 17:1-16) No relief for distressed humanity can be expected from Christendom.
15. What must be said as to whether it is a religious war that is being planned for by the contenders, and so who continues to suffer?
15 Christendom cannot be expected to share in the divine victory at the coming war of the ages. The preparing of her nations for war with the materialistic Communist bloc is not really for the preserving of Christianity. It is for the preserving of political sovereignty, for the right of her political types of government to survive. It is no religious war that is planned for by the contenders. The prime point of dispute is, Who owns the earth? Who will rule the earth? And because of the violent dispute over this issue by politically divided nations, humanity continues to suffer distress, anguish.
16. What is the prime issue that is to be settled now once and for all time, and what pertinent prayer will thus be answered?
16 As at no previous time in human history, the time has come for this governmental issue, Who will rule the earth? to be settled once and for all time. The only one who can settle that issue rightly and bring in a lasting peace is God, the earth’s own Creator and Owner. Who has more right than He has to say who shall rule this earthly home of all mankind? In his unchangeable written Word, the Bible, he has declared his purpose to have His say at his due time. That time is at hand! The time has come for him to answer the prayer that has been offered to him for generations past. It is the prayer that was taught by his own Son who came from heaven nineteen hundred years ago. It is the prayer that Jesus Christ taught his true disciples to pray. In obedience his faithful followers till now have prayed that prayer, “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”—Matt. 6:9, 10, Authorized Version.
Answering the Prayer for Divine Rulership
17. (a) For what is that prayer a petition, and has Christendom proved to be the answer to that prayer? (b) What, therefore, must go, and what must come in, in answer to whose prayer?
17 That is a prayer for divine rulership, for divine government, yes, for divine victory! Without understanding the meaning of that prayer, the thousands of millions of people of Christendom have prayed that prayer for centuries in their homes and churches, but the sanguinary wars fought by the nations of Christendom have failed to bring in that kingdom. Their way is not God’s way for bringing in his divine government. Christendom has not proved to be God’s kingdom. It has not proved to be Christ’s kingdom, as the name Christendom suggests. Christendom has not fulfilled the Bible prophecies concerning the glories, beauties and blessings of Christ’s kingdom for all mankind. Christendom has misrepresented Christ’s kingdom. God cannot approve and accept Christendom as the true kingdom of his Son Jesus Christ. Christendom must go! The real kingdom of God by Christ must come in! The prayer taught us by God’s beloved Son will not go unanswered. His true, unhypocritical disciples have not offered that prayer in vain.
18. (a) The answer to that prayer will mean a victory over whom? (b) How have the clergymen proved to be delinquent with respect to the politicians in the matter of the Gentile Times?
18 Unlike the genuine followers of Jesus Christ, the masses of Christendom and of the rest of the world do not want God’s kingdom. That is why the establishment of His kingdom in complete control over all the earth will indeed mean a divine victory. A victory over whom? Over all the religious and political powers who ignore God’s ownership of the earth and who fight for continued national sovereignty of man-made political governments. These contenders for continued domination of the earth by human political governments refuse to recognize that the Gentile Times have ended. God appointed those Gentile Times for worldly nations to dominate all the earth without interference by His kingdom, and those times expired in the autumn of the year 1914 C.E. (Luke 21:24, AV) The clergy of Christendom have never pointed out this fact to the political rulers of the nations. They have never pointed out that at the end of the Gentile Times the opposite was to take place from what took place at the beginning of those times in the year 607 B.C.E.
19. At the beginning of the Gentile Times, what did God take away from the earth, and how?
19 At the beginning of the Gentile Times in the autumn of that year God took away the typical kingdom of God from the earth and let the Gentile powers, that is, the non-Jewish powers, have earth-wide control of all lands. God did this by letting the armies of pagan Babylon dethrone the typical Messiah, the king of Jerusalem, and destroy the holy city and its temple, and leave Jerusalem and the land of Judah to become a desolate waste for seventy years.
20. (a) As the opposite of that, what did God do at the end of the Gentile Times? (b) Why was God’s action not visible to political rulers on earth?
20 As the opposite of this, at the end of the Gentile Times in 1914 C.E., God restored his kingdom, not in a typical way with a typical Messiah king, but in a real way, in the antitypical way. That is why he did not in that year reestablish the kingdom of the royal family of David at Jerusalem in the Middle East. Rather, he set up the kingdom in the hands of Jesus Christ, who, when he was a man on earth, was a natural descendant of ancient King David. Also, since Jesus Christ is no longer a man on earth but was resurrected from a martyr’s death to heavenly spirit life, God set up the kingdom of this Descendant of King David in the heavens, in what is called the “heavenly Jerusalem.” (Matt. 1:1; 1 Pet. 3:18; Heb. 12:22) That is why the birth of that Messianic kingdom in 1914 C.E. was not visible to the political rulers of Christendom and pagandom. And yet the birth had to be on time, and it made itself felt by the effects that it produced both in heaven and on earth.
21-23. (a) Why is that “war” in heaven nothing to scoff at unbelievingly? (b) How does John, in Revelation, chapter 12, describe the cause of this?
21 Do we realize that, in heaven, a war resulted from the successful birth of that Messianic kingdom that came forth from God’s heavenly organization like a newborn child from a woman? This is nothing to scoff at unbelievingly, for any war has its effects and this heavenly invisible war has had its effects on us people here on earth. The effects of that war are nothing for us to smile at, for we are painfully feeling them. This is what lends realism to the matter. The unseen heavenly cause of this was prophetically envisioned to the Christian apostle John. He gives us the following description, according to The New English Bible of 1970:
22 “She [that is, God’s heavenly organization] gave birth to a male child, who is destined to rule all nations with an iron rod. But her child was snatched up to God and his throne; . . . Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels waged war upon the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought, but they had not the strength to win, and no foothold was left them in heaven.
23 “So the great dragon was thrown down, that serpent of old that led the whole world astray, whose name is Satan, or the Devil—thrown down to the earth, and his angels with him. Then I [John] heard a voice in heaven proclaiming aloud: ‘This is the hour of victory for our God, the hour of his sovereignty and power, when his Christ comes to his rightful rule! For the accuser of our brothers is overthrown, who day and night accused them before our God. By the sacrifice of the Lamb they have conquered him, and by the testimony which they uttered; for they did not hold their lives too dear to lay them down. Rejoice then, you heavens and you that dwell in them! But woe to you, earth and sea, for the Devil has come down to you in great fury, knowing that his time is short!’”—Rev. 12:5-12, NE; also The Jerusalem Bible.
24. (a) How long did that “war . . . in heaven” last? (b) Why was the outcome of that war to result in “woe” for us on land and sea?
24 How long that “war . . . in heaven” between holy angels and devilish demons lasted is not stated in the record; but it is hardly likely that it lasted longer than World War I, which ended on November 11, 1918. Be that as it may, yet the more personal thing is, How did that war affect us on earth who were unaware of its occurrence in heaven? The holy heavens were called upon to rejoice over God’s victory, a divine victory, but what about us here on earth? The loud cry in heaven said: “But woe to you, earth and sea!” Why “woe” for us, whether on land or on sea? Because “the Devil has come down to you in great fury, knowing that his time is short!”—Rev. 12:12, NE.
25, 26. (a) What questions about human affairs since the close of World War I are submitted to persons who scoff at the existence of Satan and his demon angels? (b) Finally, as to the matter of cause and effect, what question do we ask?
25 Scoffers at the Bible may take this idea of Satan the Devil and his demon angels being thrown down to the vicinity of our earth as a laughing matter. But can they laugh and are they laughing at the “woe” that both earth and sea are experiencing today? No, those scoffers cannot see Satan the Devil with their natural eyes, but they have reason to know that he and his legions of demon angels are around, in our neighborhood. If they do not believe it, then let them answer why it is that the League of Nations that was organized shortly after the end of World War I did not prove to be an international organization for world peace and security. Why did it not prevent the rise of war-minded political dictators in Europe? Why did it not prevent the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the war that climaxed with the detonating of two atomic bombs with woe for the inhabitants of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
26 Also, Why is it that the United Nations organization, since its formation at the close of World War II in 1945, has not prevented all the wars and revolutions, territorial aggressions, and other political turmoils till the present time? Why is it that we have such frightening buildup of the great world powers for nuclear warfare? Why the money crisis? Why troubles continually between labor and capital, even between government employees and government? Why all the fanatical nationalism? Why all the racial strife and prejudices? Why the increasing of crime? Why the breakdown of morals? Why the epidemic increase of social diseases? Why the ruining of mankind’s earthly home by pollution? Why the growing shortage of food for earth’s increasing population? Why, as Jesus Christ predicted for our time, “upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken”? (Luke 21:25, 26, Revised Standard Version) For every effect there is a cause. What is the real cause of all these distressing effects?
[Box/Pictures on page 614]
Will Christendom share in the divine victory? She involves herself in the political affairs of the world. The Bible says: ‘Whoever wants to be a friend of the world is constituting himself an enemy of God’
Pope Paul VI speaking before the United Nations General Assembly, October 4, 1965
Inscription at the Vatican Pavilion, New York World’s Fair, 1964-1965
Let the world know this: the Church looks at the world with profound understanding, with sincere admiration and with a sincere intention not of conquering it but of serving it, not of despising it but of appreciating it, not of condemning it but of strengthening and saving it.
Pope Paul VI