Jehovah a Refuge for Millions
IN THIS scientific age the nations have used fearful weapons against one another—poison gas, napalm and nuclear bombs that can blot out human lives by the thousands. This has led to great fear that the most fiendish weapons may yet be used—nerve gases, biological devices, H-bombs and perhaps even more terrifying implements. Military experts say that a war with such weapons would leave no victors—it would mean defeat for all.
Yet some persons who advocate stockpiling the more destructive weapons feel that God is cruel when he speaks of destruction of the nations. The fact is that, in disregard of God’s principles, each nation continues to race to tip the balance of power in its own favor. The only solution to this is removal of the present man-made system, to be replaced, not by some other form of man rule, but by God’s own rulership.
The price of peace on earth must be the clearing away of wicked, selfish men who put profit or glory ahead of the people’s happiness. The Bible says: “The wicked is a ransom for the righteous one; and the one dealing treacherously takes the place of the upright ones.”—Prov. 21:18.
We have examples in the Bible showing that God acts to get wicked people out of the way in order to benefit righteous ones. There was the flood of Noah’s day. “The earth became filled with violence,” says the record, and “the earth . . . was ruined, because all flesh had ruined its way on the earth.” (Gen. 6:11, 12) However, Noah ‘walked with God’ and “found favor in the eyes of Jehovah.” When the world of that time was destroyed, Noah and his family were saved by Jehovah’s hand.—Gen. 6:8, 9; 8:18.
Later, the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah became extremely immoral. Their corruption was shocking and detrimental to the peace of others, to the point that there was a general complaint. “Consequently Jehovah said: ‘The cry of complaint about Sodom and Gomorrah, yes, it is loud, and their sin, yes, it is very heavy.’” (Gen. 18:20) These cities were destroyed in order to rid the area of extreme wickedness, that those desiring right morals might have safety and peace.—Gen. 19:1, 12, 13, 24, 25.
Jehovah’s destructive act is therefore not unfair. And it is unavoidable, because the nations in general are bent on going ahead in their destructive way, as were the people before the Flood. However, individual persons may escape destruction. There is still time for anyone who desires to learn about God to find his goodwill and a refuge from destruction.
THE FINAL WAR
Just how sure of protection and how confident can those persons be who take a stand on the side of Jehovah and the one world, one government, under His sovereignty? The Bible book of Zechariah 14, in its fourteenth chapter, prophetically tells us about the security that those on Jehovah’s side will enjoy during the complete end of this present system of things. This prophecy deals with events that occur after all false religion has been destroyed by the political powers. (The destruction of false religion, represented by a “harlot,” is depicted in Revelation 17:16.) Then the kings (rulers) of earth and their armies fight against the “Lamb,” Jesus Christ, and suffer defeat.
Zechariah wrote: “This is what will prove to be the scourge with which Jehovah will scourge all the peoples that will actually do military service against Jerusalem: There will be a rotting away of one’s flesh, while one is standing upon one’s feet; and one’s very eyes will rot away in their sockets, and one’s very tongue will rot away in one’s mouth.”—Zech. 14:12.
There is no record of the events described in this portion of Zechariah’s prophecy as being fulfilled in and around Jerusalem in the past. So the prophecy has its fulfillment later, but not upon the literal city of Jerusalem. It is no longer God’s “holy city.” “Heavenly Jerusalem” is the place to which Christians gather and they consider it holy. (Heb. 12:22) Of course, the nations cannot reach up to heaven and attack this city, but they can attack those on earth who represent it. The prophecy of Zechariah says that they will do so. In attacking its representatives they are in effect attacking the heavenly city.
CONFIDENCE AND SECURITY
Should those who hope eventually to be members of the heavenly city—the spiritual brothers of the “Lamb,” Christ Jesus—be afraid? Should their companions, who have joined them in proclaiming the good news of God’s kingdom, quake in fear at the prospects of the vicious attack that will come? No. They have made Jehovah their refuge, and he will not fail them. Recall the attack by superior military forces upon the kingdom of Judah in the days of King Jehoshaphat. God told Jehoshaphat: “Do not you be afraid or be terrified because of this large crowd; for the battle is not yours, but God’s. . . . You will not need to fight in this instance.” (2 Chron. 20:15-17) The outcome was that God brought confusion among the enemy forces so that they slaughtered one another. King Jehoshaphat and his people found all the enemies dead.—2 Chron. 20:22-24.
Later, Assyrian king Sennacherib’s conquering army, sweeping everything before it, invaded the land of Judah. Before the walls of Jerusalem one of the generals, Rabshakeh, threatened and taunted King Hezekiah of Jerusalem and his God, Jehovah. But Jehovah comforted Hezekiah, saying: “[The king of Assyria] will not come into this city nor will he shoot an arrow there nor confront it with a shield nor cast up a siege rampart against it.” (2 Ki. 19:32) That night Jehovah sent an angel to destroy 185,000 of Sennacherib’s mighty men and their chiefs. What was left of the defeated army returned to Assyria without so much as touching the inhabitants of Jerusalem.—2 Ki. 19:35; 2 Chron. 32:21.
Likewise with the attack of the nations against God’s people at the world situation called “Har–Magedon.” (Rev. 16:16) With reference back to Zechariah’s words above quoted, whether the “scourge” will be literal or not, the mouths of those opened to shout commands, war cries or threats will be silenced. Either their tongues will rot out, physically, or they will fail just as though they had no tongues. Powers of vision will suddenly go black! Muscles and sinews of highly trained, physically developed warriors will lose strength and movableness as they stand on their feet. Their arsenal of weapons, including computerized missile guidance systems, will go bad. The prophecy, using the military system of that day symbolically, says:
“And this is how the scourge of the horse, the mule, the camel, and the male ass, and every sort of domestic animal that happens to be in those camps, will prove to be, like this scourge.”—Zech. 14:15.
This will certainly be terrifying to those who then fight against God. But adding to the terror will be the confusion that Almighty God will stir up among these attackers. Like the ancient enemies of Jehoshaphat, they will fight madly against one another. Zechariah’s prophecy says: “And it must occur in that day that confusion from Jehovah will become widespread among them; and they will actually grab hold, each one of the hand of his companion, and his hand will actually come up against the hand of his companion.”—Zech. 14:13.
This widespread destruction of all of God’s enemies will occur in every part of the earth. The parallel vision in the book of Revelation shows the “wild beast,” which represents the governments of earth, fighting against Jesus Christ, the “King of kings and Lord of lords.” All their military forces are shown as joining the fight and as going down in humiliating defeat.—Rev. 19:16, 19-21.
PROVISIONS FOR SURVIVORS
Will such destruction leave utter confusion on earth? Will those who have taken refuge in God be disorganized, uncertain as to what to do? Will they be destitute?
No, for the prophecy says about this: “And the wealth of all the nations round about will certainly be gathered, gold and silver and garments in excessive abundance.” (Zech. 14:14) There will certainly be enough to sustain all who have looked to Jehovah for protection, until they can put things in order and operate in the earth according to God’s revealed will for that time. Such information will come to them through the heavenly “New Jerusalem.”—Rev. 21:1-4.
Having delivered his trusting people by wiping out the combined military forces of the earth, Jehovah’s hand will not be shortened as to providing for his people. We can be sure of that! An example of such provision is found in Jehovah’s words to Israel shortly before they entered the Promised Land. God said through Moses that He would go before them to help them to defeat the nations there and that, on their possessing the land, they would receive “great and good-looking cities that [they] did not build, and houses full of all good things and that [they] did not fill, and cisterns hewn out that [they] did not hew out, vineyards and olive trees that [they] did not plant.” They did receive these things and ‘ate and were satisfied.’—Deut. 6:10, 11.
So material supplies will cause no worry to the happy survivors of God’s war. However, they will count it as more important that they will be able to carry on true worship without interference. It may be that millions will share in Jehovah’s deliverance, for already at the present time there are more than two million who have made Jehovah and his Messianic kingdom their refuge. These are proclaiming the good news of this kingdom in practically all parts of the earth, and hundreds of thousands are putting their trust in this kingdom and joining in its proclamation each year. Jehovah is indeed becoming a refuge for millions!